COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — A group of ladies calling themselves the Lunch Bunch are doing their part to honor African-American students.
Since 1987, the 30-member Lunch Bunch — many of whom are retired teachers — has awarded scholarships to Black Columbus City School students and celebrated their achievements, according to Lunch Bunch President Shirley Cannon.
“A lot of times the attention they get is very negative, so to be able to give positive attention to them is a blessing for them,” Cannon said.
The Lunch Bunch will honor Black graduating seniors with at least a 3.0 GPA on Sunday, including Maurice Harrison, who plans to study biomedical engineering in the fall.
Harrison, 18, spoke with NBC4 in 2021 while participating in a teen panel about violence. When it comes to conflict, Harrison said people don’t know how to listen.
“When somebody is explaining something to them or sharing something they just wait for their turn to respond and I feel like that’s a really big problem,” Harrison said.
At the Lunch Bunch’s upcoming ceremony, the group will award six $3,000 scholarships. Cannon said that in the past two years, the group has been able to do more for Columbus City school students than ever before.
“I can’t think enough to say about the Lunch Bunch,” Bessie Sherrod-Price, Lunch Bunch member and historian, said. “It makes me want to cry sometime because once we go through and do what we do in our school systems, you’re looking for something else that you can give back.”
Although the pandemic disrupted some of the Lunch Bunch’s routine, Catherine Willis, co-founder of Lunch Bunch, said Zoom helped them come back together.
“That did increase our camaraderie and fellowship and we were teaching that whole village concept that we were teaching each other,” Catherine Willis, Lunch Bunch co-founder, said. “I think that’s a part of our culture, that’s where we come from we come from understanding and being trained and know that we’ve got to help each other.”