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School House Lunch to benefit delinquent lunch accounts

By ROSS FLINT - rflint@shelbynews.com

A growing problem in Shelby County has caused two residents to step forward and try to make a difference, one chicken quarter at a time.

Friends DL Sanders and Cody Riggs organized four events called “School House Lunch” that intends to raise money for delinquent lunch accounts in all four school districts.

Every event is spread out two weeks apart.

The first is scheduled for Saturday at the American Legion with all benefits going toward Morristown and Waldron schools. The second will benefit Triton Central schools and is scheduled for Feb. 23.

The third benefits Southwestern and is scheduled for March 9. And the final will take place two weeks later on March 23 to benefit Shelbyville schools.

Every benefit starts at 6 p.m. with dinner and a special guest appearing. Each one includes local music acts, all of whom with ties to the school they’re helping.

Saturday’s performers will be Andy, Rosemary and Leah Long from 7:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. and the Highway 44 Band from 10 p.m. to midnight.

The Feb. 23 performers include Ghost Radio at 7:30 p.m. and Trent Moss and the Fairland Ramblers taking the stage at 10 p.m.

The March 9 benefit features Nick Fischer at 7:30 p.m. and Tin Pan Alley at 10 p.m.

And the final benefit has Like Linus taking the stage at 7:30 p.m. and The Busted Mufflers following at 10 p.m.

“Obviously being a Triton graduate, I’m more than happy to help out my own school,” Moss said. “We love to help out anytime we can, especially when it’s locally. We were more than excited when DL started to get this thing organized. There was no hesitation doing it.”

Mel’s Catering will provide the meal and the menu for the first three benefits which is chicken quarters and pork chops. The Shelbyville menu is a ribeye dinner.

A silent auction, 50/50 raffle and donations will fuel the fundraiser, and T-shirts and other items will be available for sale.

Sanders said the idea came from a conversation he had with Riggs. It started when the two realized the county had a problem with delinquent lunch accounts.

Riggs suggested organizing an event for Shelbyville schools; Sanders countered with a bigger idea.

“If you’re going to do it for one district, you really need to do it for all of them,” he said.

From the way he understands it, Sanders said a combined $100,000 is owed to the five schools from families who, for whatever reason, haven’t paid their debt.

“It’s a problem that needs to be addressed,” he said.

Because of the overall amount owed, Sanders knows they won’t be able to raise enough to cover it all. But he hopes to make a dent, and would like to see “School House Lunch” become an annual event.

“I got to thinking about it, if this child knows he doesn’t have money for lunch, it’s going to weigh on his mind all day,” he said. “It’s going to affect his learning.”

Prior to the start of the 2018-19 school year, Shelbyville Central Schools made a push to encourage families to sign up for the free and reduced lunch program. The administration also decided to become more aggressive in pursuing families that owed money.

No children are refused a meal and can have an alternate lunch, but the administration is no longer allowing students in debt to continue accumulating that debt.

Sanders, Riggs and the bands involved are hoping to help.

“No kid should have to eat alternate lunch when there are financial struggles at home,” Moss said. Any way we can help out, we’re happy to.”