When the student body of the Hershey Campus of Lancaster Mennonite School was asked to list the things they would like to have at their school, a cafeteria was at the top of their list.

A cafeteria was planned as part of the new Hershey Christian School building constructed in 2007 but was not completed at that time. Instead, students ate packed lunches and catered food on the school’s stage in three shifts. Now, in its first year as a campus of Lancaster Mennonite School, the Hershey cafeteria dream has been revived and energized by the promise of $150,000 if the gift can be matched by March 1.

In response to the students’ request, a group of parents, spear-headed by Julie Zinn, launched the Cool Café Campaign to raise money to complete the cafeteria by offering virtual cafeteria trays online for varying amounts of money. Persons buying “trays” had the opportunity to put a message on the image of a tray on the school’s website and on a paper “tray” in the gymnasium so students could read them and watch the progress of funding. Messages could be notes of encouragement, business advertisements, tributes, Bible verses and more. Donors have a selection of 200 trays available to purchase. The novel launch of the Cool Café Campaign caught the attention of a generous donor who offered to make a $150,000 gift if it were matched by March 1. If the gift is matched, the school will have enough funds to complete the dining hall eating area, the serving area and the actual kitchen to prepare food.

The vision is to get students and staff off the stage into a more appropriate eating area. The school hopes to begin construction in order to have the cafeteria ready for students in the 2016-17 school year.

The Hershey Campus is located at 1525 Sand Hill Road, Hummelstown, and enrolls 167 students from all church backgrounds in kindergarten through high school.