St. Marys tattoo shop pays off school lunch debt

ST. MARYS, GA. — A tattoo shop in Camden County wants to make sure all kids get a hot lunch at school, even if they can’t afford it.

Charles Platt is a tattoo artist at Second Skin Tattoo.

He may look like a tough guy with his beard, long hair, and arms covered with colorful tattoos, but he has a soft spot for his customers.

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“We’re kind of sweethearts,” Platt said, laughing. “We all like to give back and, yeah, we like what we do. We all look rough or whatever, but we’re all just people too.”

Platt explained that the tattoo shop’s business comes from the community, so the workers try to give back when they can.

Platt's fiancee and mother are both teachers, and after having some conversations with them, he realized there was a small gap in the school lunch program.

“There’s a sliver of overdue lunch accounts,” Platt said. “This is a great place to kind of get our foot in the door and start giving back.”

The school district provides free or reduced-price lunch for students whose families meet federal guidelines for funding, which is about 49% of the district, but some students don’t qualify and still need a lunch.

“Even with our best efforts, children come to school -- it might’ve been an oversight, mom didn’t write the check or someone forgot their lunch at home -- but there’s always going to be a small number of students who come through every day with no lunch or no lunch money,” said Michele Wright, Director of School Nutrition for Camden County Schools.

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Wright said the district has spent $2,000 of the emergency fund since the start of the school year.

That is the funding that it uses for kids who don’t qualify for federal funding but still need a lunch.

Platt decided that Second Skin could lend a hand.

On Friday, Sept. 13, the shop donated 50% of all its profits to the school.

The place was packed.

More than 200 people came out, and there was a line out the door.

Platt’s goal was to raise $5,000.

“When we raised $8,100 it was really just -- I was just blown away,” Platt said.

The money will pay off the lunch charges that the students incurred so far and replenish the emergency fund to keep the kids fed.

“This means they still get to eat,” Wright said. “In addition to that, they still get to look like all of their friends, going to the lunch line with their full tray.”

On October 9, Second Skin will present the check to the school board.

If you want to contribute to the donation, you can drop off checks or cash to Second Skin, which is located at 1715 Osborne Road, Suite F, St. Marys, GA 31558.

You can also contact the shop on Facebook.