Sanger couple honor daughter with $10,000 gift to school to erase kids' lunch debt

SANGER, Calif. (KFSN) -- A Sanger family is honoring their daughter in a meaningful way after she was killed in a car crash last year.

Karamdeep Dhaliwal was an after-school program director at Madison Elementary in Sanger.

Miss Kam was a favorite at the school. She was generous and giving, and an annual $10,000 gift will reflect her kind heart.

A tree honoring her is a lasting tribute to a woman whose co-workers say made a difference on campus every day.

"Losing somebody that brings light and life and fun and just her everyday presence being gone was hard for everybody. And her family are just amazing, and we've been able to keep that memory alive," said principal Stephanie Rodriguez.

Gurinder and Charandit Dhaliwal, her parents, have felt that pain especially hard. They skipped celebrating the holidays, because it brought memories of their daughter flooding back. Kam was the outgoing, funny, adventurer of the family, who made the most of every day.

"She was one kind of person that was always giving out, giving out.... I was blessed to have her in my life. I was really blessed," said Gurinder, her mom.

Gurinder also works for Sanger Unified in the middle school cafeteria.

Every day, she sees firsthand the challenges some students have in paying for their lunches.

Several schools in the district don't qualify for free lunches - and many students have high outstanding balances.

"If you have money, that's good. If you don't have money, we still feed kids. We don't care if they have money or not, we don't make separate food for them we don't make any other kind of food. Whatever is on the line, we will give them. And we will not even let them know - 'Hey you don't have money'," she said.

That gave her an idea - another way to honor the life of her daughter with a fitting tribute. Their family would help eliminate past due lunch debt.

Jannette Garcia is the Child Nutrition Director at Sanger Unified. She said the $10,000 annual gift will feed hundreds of kids.

"That's one of the things that Gurinder wanted to do is to reflect that care and compassion by giving this donation- it definitely will carry on that legacy for years to come," said Garcia.

Karamdeep's love of reading will also live on through a tree planted there. It will eventually be a place students can sit on a bench along with a book. It blooms each spring with her favorite color - purple.
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