News Sports Opinion Photos Social Classified Obits Contact
Lunches being served at the Senior Center in East Tallassee

Lunchlady land

By Michael Butler

The title of a song from an Adam Sandler skit on "Saturday Night Live" made light of the food served in lunchrooms (i.e., sloppy Joes, hoagies and grinders), but that food is sometimes the only meal that some school children can count on.

Getting kids fed was one of the first priorities Tallassee City Schools superintendent Wade Shipman discussed when the coronavirus pandemic hit.

"One of our biggest concerns is that it might be the best meal they get all day," Shipman said. "Trying to find a way to feed some of these kids is important to us."

The school system expedited its Summer Feeding Program with school lunchrooms being closed. Meals for children 18 and under are being offered from 11:30 a.m. to 12 p.m. on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays at three pickup points; the Career Tech Center at 301 Gilmer Avenue, the Tallassee Community Library at 99 Freeman Avenue and the Tallassee Senior Center at 445 Main Street.

Brooke Rigsby decided to also chip in. Rigsby has made her Studio B Dance Center a pickup point on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 11 a.m. - 12 p.m. at 12 South Ann Avenue.

"I am honored God chose me to do this for His people. During this scary and uncertain time, I have seen His hand in this ministry from the very beginning. He created it and I'm honored to serve Him and His people," Rigsby said. "The first day we served 71. The second day we did 112. The donations have continued to flow in. People have also donated drinks and prepacked foods. Jack's has donated burgers for a month as well as McDonald's. 1220 Cafe has donated cookies. In total we have served 443 people in two weeks."

Rigsby noted that the effort began with her Sunday School class at First Baptist Church making donations but has grown into a community-wide effort.

"Brooke has taken the initiative to lead this effort," FBC pastor Derek Gentle said. "This is in addition to the "Back Pack Club" distribution by Elmore Baptist Association churches and the food distribution the school conducts."

As school goes to online coursework to finish out the year, Rigsby is hopeful that the free lunches will continue in conjunction.

"We will continue until we can’t do it anymore," she said. "I have prayed for the students to come. The first morning I remember thinking, 'What if no one comes?' I prayed for the people who needed it to be able to find us. God showed up and showed out, and the number continues to grow.

"We are going to continue on Tuesdays and Thursdays (while) the school keeps theirs on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. We don’t want anyone who needs food to go hungry."