VFW donation wipes out students’ meal debt

The 400 veterans who are members of Sheffield Lake’s VFW Post 8686 believe they have more to give even after their years of service to our country.

As proof, they recently stepped up with a donation of $24,000 to completely eliminate the debts families of Sheffield-Sheffield Lake City School District students had accumulated for school lunches during last school year and the first weeks of the current school year.

According to School Superintendent Mike Cook, the VFW’s donation benefitted more than 650 students from kindergarten through high school, with a majority residing in Sheffield Lake. Cook said the district has received many donations from the organization, but this was the largest and will help more than 40% of the district’s students and their families.

“We feed all our students even if they have no money to pay for their food because we know they cannot learn if they are hungry. The VFW absorbing this debt for our students is nothing short of remarkable. These veterans give selflessly to our district and this donation, affecting so many, is deeply appreciated. I hope they know just how much this positively impacts our students, their mood, energy and sense of belonging.”

VFW Quartermaster Rodney Bonner explained the veterans wanted to help families not have to worry about school lunches. “Our goal was to alleviate a burden,” he said.

In the past, VFW donations helped purchase tackling dummies for the football team and purchased drawing pads so middle school students could learn how to create digital art. Bonner said, “We were able to fit the entire classroom so every student would have the ability to learn that.” They have also supported arts and theater programs and joined forces with the local Lions Club to provide college scholarships.

Their most recent donation was meant to help a wider range of the district’s kids and parents, Bonner said.

The Post raises funds through its charitable gaming program, which is regulated by the state. VFW Ohio Charities provides guidance. Proceeds are donated once all expenses are paid including an annual license fee to the state. Post 8686 also has supported local organizations including youth baseball, 103rd OVI and Foodbank.