The Times-Tribune

Businessma­n picks up tab for students’ cafeteria debt

Bobby Dempsey says thank you for the community’s support.

- STAFF WRITER BY KATHLEEN BOLUS

Inspired by the tremendous community support he received after a fire damaged his business, Bobby Dempsey decided to help out local students.

Mr. Dempsey gave the Dunmore School District a check Friday for almost $3,000 to pay off the students’ cafeteria debt before school is out for the holiday season.

“The support we got from the community was really overwhelmi­ng and it was kind of like our way of giving back a little bit,” he said. “I’m a parent now and kids having to go without, that doesn’t sit well with me.”

He also worried where the district would have to “pull the resources from” if the debt remained. “We are taking something off their plate,” he said.

Last November, a fire at Mr. Dempsey’s company, Dempsey’s Fashionabl­e Laundry on Blakely Street in the borough, caused significan­t interior damage. The business, which has been in the area since the 1950s, was helped out by the Dempsey Uniform and Linen Supply Co., an unrelated company based in Jessup, after the fire.

Settling student cafeteria debt this Christmas season recently became a trend. In early December, an anonymous “secret Santa” paid off $900 in students’ lunch debts at H.W. Good Elementary School in Herminie, Pennsylvan­ia. Another donor recently paid off cafeteria debt in Wilmington, Delaware.

Students who pay for lunches across districts in Northeast Pennsylvan­ia may not always have money for food.

“We’re not going to send them away hungry,” said Dunmore Superinten­dent John Marichak, adding Mr. Dempsey’s donation helped many students in the district.

The $3,000 debt was just from the beginning of the 2016-17 school year.

“We’re so thankful to the Dempseys,” said Mr. Marichak. “For our children to not have that worry or that burden is a great thing.” Contact the writer: kbolus@timesshamr­ock.com, @kbolusTT on Twitter

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