Lapeer restaurant owner pays off school lunch debt

Woodchips BBQ got hit hard during the coronavirus pandemic, but owner Patrick Hingst still wants to help
Published: Feb. 11, 2021 at 11:11 PM EST
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LAPEER, Mich. (WJRT) - The pandemic has hit restaurants hard, but that isn’t stopping Woodchips BBQ from giving back to help children in need.

One Lapeer restaurant owner is giving back to kids at his former school district.

Patrick Hingst, the owner of Woodchips BBQ in Lapeer, said when he heard that students at Lapeer Community Schools had some lunch debt he decided to pay off all of the negative lunch balances of their active students.

“I came from [a] middle class home. We were usually a pretty good spot, but I had those experiences,” said Hingst.

“Just, you know, not having money and kind of having to sit in the corner and just knowing that feeling is something that I don’t want anybody else to ever have to deal with. No kids shouldn’t ever have to go hungry, so this was a no-brainer for us,” added Hingst.

During the pandemic, Woodchips BBQ was hit hard, said Hingst. He was able to stay afloat with the help of the community and wanted to return the favor.

“People really support the stuff that we’re doing and support our GoFundMe,” Hingst said. “That has kept our business strong, and you know we’re dedicated and taking care of our people and taking care of our community.”

The school district reacted to the donation with the following statement:

“It was a random of act of kindness from Patrick Hingst, a graduate of Lapeer East. Patrick has been the owner of one of our great downtown restaurants for many years. Patrick has done so many random acts of kindness in our community, they are hardly random anymore. We are truly grateful for his generosity and we hope this inspires others to pay it forward during this very challenging time.”

Hingst said giving back to the community is a part of his and his restaurants core values and doesn’t plan to stop with Lapeer community schools.

“We’re in discussion with some other local school districts to see if they have issues as well. We want to make sure we can help out with that. And we’ll have a big announcement coming soon where we’re going to launch a monthly community meal,” said Hingst.

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