ALEXANDRIA, Va. (WDVM) — “People come in with their problem, you fix the problem, and they leave happy,” said Courtney Marzban, pediatric dentist at Kingstowne Dental Specialists.
Marzban and her partner are only a couple months into owning their own practice, but they’re already “fixing” problems outside of the dentist chair.
“We wanted to be a part of the community and this was a way to get to know the community and give back,” said Marzban.
For every new patient Kingstowne sees, the practice will donate two school lunches to help students pay off school lunch debts; a total of about seven dollars.
“Seven dollars can go a long way toward alleviating the debt of kids who qualify for reduced lunch,” said Adelle Settle, founder of Settle the Debt, an aspiring nonprofit that takes care of student lunches across Northern Virginia. “It can also go a long way toward families who earn over the threshold for reduced lunch and who are struggling to pay their full costs.”
Marzban and Settle aren’t just partners; they’re friends. Two of their children are about two weeks apart. “The more I talked to [Settle] and the more I learned about what was happening in our county and in our cities… it kind of broke my heart,” said Marzban.
Settle’s and Marzban’s mission isn’t just affecting the students and families in need. “[Lunch debt is] impacting, not only the kids and their families who are in debt; but it’s also impacting the school overall because they have to absorb that money and it comes out of educational budget,” said Settle. “So if we want our kids to get a really good education we need to make sure that they don’t have this huge debt every year that they have to eat.”