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Layton man pays off delinquent student lunch accounts in Davis County

By Anna Burleson, Standard-Examiner Staff - | Dec 18, 2016
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Damon Burton, age 35.

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Damon Burton, age 35.

LAYTON — A Layton business owner donated $2,000 to cover outstanding lunch balances at Davis School District's Title I schools.

Damon Burton, 35, moved frequently as a child after his parents divorce and attended several Davis School District schools. Throughout that time, he participated in the free- and reduced-lunch and breakfast program.

Now, as the owner of the Layton-based website development and marketing companies UtahSites.com and SEONational.com, he wanted to give back.

“I’ve experienced the big gap, so I understand the value in helping out because I was a direct recipient of that help in my younger years,” he said.

The donation went to the Davis Education Foundation for distribution and district spokesman Chris Williams said it was much appreciated.

“He has definitely lightened someone’s load,” Williams said.

Burton came up with the idea of paying the lunch balances on his own as he started brainstorming how he wanted to give back a couple of months ago. He made personal calls to the district’s Title I schools and asked about their needs.

“It wasn’t a strategic thing, it just evolved,” he said.

There are 17 schools listed as Title I on the Davis School District website. Williams said Friday it’s unclear which schools will receive the money but where it goes will be based on need and decided by the district’s nutritional service director.

Layton Elementary School is one of the schools that could receive a piece of Burton’s gift. Principal Diane Hammer hadn’t heard the news yet Thursday afternoon and said the donation would help with a huge need at her school.

The school isn’t technically supposed to feed students with delinquent accounts, which is difficult because the school’s teachers and administrators, of course, want to feed kids who are hungry.

“That’s the nicest thing I’ve ever heard,” she said. “I just want to cry.”

Williams said Burton’s donation is the equivalent of 5,714 meals.

Burton said the best part has been seeing the reaction on social media, pointing to a woman who commented on a Facebook post about his donation: “I’m not crying, I’m not crying, I’m not crying.”

“Seeing how this has touched other people has been amazing,” she said.

Contact education reporter Anna Burleson at aburleson@standard.net. Follow her on Twitter at @AnnagatorB or like her on Facebook at Facebook.com/BurlesonReports.

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