It's a simple message of gratitude from parents of Jackson Twp. students. They came together early Wednesday afternoon to hand deliver 230 boxed lunches to staff members at Jackson Memorial Middle School and first responders at the Jackson Safety Center.
The show of support comes about a week after the middle school and surrounding schools were placed on lockdown after a 13-year-old shot himself inside the building. Hundreds of parents waited outside the school for hours to be reunited with their children.
"I think every parent processes things in a different way, and how we’re focusing those emotions," Jessica Butt said. "But one common theme is the debt of gratitude that we feel to our teachers, our officers, our fire department and our safety forces."
One of Butt's daughters is an 8th grade student and was inside Jackson Middle School when the lockdown took place.
"What [my daughter] said was that she looked down the hall and the teachers ran into the hallway for our children...," Butt said. "None of them had a hesitation to go after our children."
It was similar stories that encouraged a group of parents to come together, raising more than $3,500 in under a week after launching a GoFundMe page. The group decided to use the money to buy lunch for school staff members and first responders.
"There’s no words to describe the amount of support we’re feeling from the community," Jackson Police Lt. Jim Monigold said.
Butt said the leftover money would pay for the negative lunch balance for students in the district.
"It just goes to show that there is unity in this community, here in Jackson Township."
The parents also delivered a sign to the safety center that read "Thank you for lending a helping hand" with the handprints of dozens of students at Strausser Elementary School.