Concord restaurant owner pays off elementary school's lunch debt

A Concord family is working to wipe out hunger in local schools, one by one.

At Johnny Roger's BBQ and Burgers in Concord, food is a way of showing love.  

“We feed people for a living,” said owner Barrett Dabbs. 

But when Dabbs saw just how upset a woman at his son's elementary school was when she couldn't afford to pay for her child's school lunches, he decided to serve up a challenge to the community.

“The day before, her daughter had come home and she was crying and upset because she wasn't able to eat a regular lunch, she had to eat a bag lunch and she was still hungry,” Dabbs said. 

Dabbs and his wife, Sarah--a former teacher--didn't want another child to go hungry or be forced to eat a bag lunch.

“The child feels ashamed feels embarrassed and you know that there are parents who can't pay that balance,” she said. 

The couple wanted to give as many hot meals as possible in the school cafeteria. 

“It just tore at our heartstrings and we knew that there was something we could do." 

They wiped away the $600 lunch debt at their son's school, Carl A. Furr Elementary, and they started the ‘Cab Co Café Challenge’ on Facebook, calling on other businesses to dish out some money and get rid of the $19,000 lunch debt for all of Cabarrus County Schools. 

It didn't take long for people to warm up to the idea by giving generously

“You never want your kid to go hungry you never want your neighbors' kids to go hungry,” said Dabbs.

So far, they've raised about $3,500 and they've also had another $3,500 pledged. People can also "Adopt a School." For more information on how to help out, email