Local business owner donates to Dowagiac middle school

Published 8:00 am Tuesday, January 12, 2016

(Leader photo/TED YOAKUM)

(Leader photo/TED YOAKUM)

A Dowagiac man’s random act of generosity Friday has helped relieve some of the financial stress of more than 70 students and their parents.

Dowagiac IT3 owner Brian Antisdel donated more than $600 to Dowagiac Middle School last week, paying off the entire outstanding lunch balance owed by students at the school, using money collected by him and Benton Metal Recycling. With his donation, 71 students now have a clean balance with the school, meaning parents won’t have to worry about paying off their child’s account.

This act of kindness came rather abruptly — both for the school and for Antisdel, the business owner said.

Just the day before, Antisdel visited the middle school to surprise his friend, staff member Jim Dudley. During his visit, he learned that a number of students had a large amount of outstanding money for school lunches owed to the school — which spurred him into action, he said.

“I went there with the intentions of just dropping off this card and leaving, but when I saw all those smiling kids walking down the hallway, I knew I had to do something,” Antisdel said.

In spite of the enormity of his gesture, the business owner said he isn’t content with just a one-off donation — he would instead like to work with the district to help pay off outstanding balances for students at other schools as well, perhaps through a crowd-funding website such as gofundme.com, he said.

“The problem is still here and it keeps getting bigger, but with this community’s support we can get something in place to help,” he said.