Robert Heinlein once said that there was no such thing as a free lunch. The point was that it doesn’t matter that you personally didn’t have to pay, someone did.

This is true in school lunches too. Someone has to pay for them.

Yet in one school, they have a lot of kids with outstanding balances on their lunch accounts, apparently. It’s enough that it’s a real problem for the schools.

Luckily, the town has a group of people good at solving problems. The local police do so all the time.

“But this isn’t a police problem,” you might say, and you’re right. But the police are going to solve it just the same.

A community is coming together in Isabella county to help out families with unpaid school lunch debts.

Shepherd (Michigan) Police Chief Luke Sawyer says every year he donates proceeds from his self defense seminar to a worthy cause.

At the suggestion of a comment on the Shepherd Police Department Facebook page, the department decided to put proceeds from the upcoming self defense seminar toward unpaid student lunch debts at Shepherd Schools.

There are 50 people signed up so far, though Sawyer said he had 80 register last year. However, the chief says he’s been contacted by people who can’t attend the class but want to help anyway, which is pretty awesome.

“We don’t want that looming over a kid’s head or a parent’s head, and I don’t care why they have an outstanding balance that’s not my job to judge, it’s just something that we’re coming together as a community to say hey you know what? We’re going to take care of this problem. I think life is filled with very small problems that we can solve if we just all put our heads together,” Sawyer told NBC 25.

Frankly, I like the whole approach. While it’s unlikely the kids who benefit will really understand or appreciate the actions of the local police, the rest of the community sure will. Besides, people don’t become police officers for the high pay and tons of glory, right?

The idea of hosting a self-defense seminar is a good thing all on its own. Law enforcement is likely to have access to the knowledge base to provide genuine best practices to attendees rather than whatever BS might fly, so this is a win for the community all on its own.

But then couple that with donating the proceeds to a worthy cause, and it’s a double win.

Frankly, I think this might be a good way for police departments all over the country to engender some goodwill in their communities. Right now, anti-police bias is sky high. Whether that’s warranted or not is irrelevant. It’s the reality that exists, not the one we might wish existed.

Stuff like this might go a fair bit of the way toward repairing the perception many people have of police and make people safer at the same time. It’s a win on pretty much every level you can imagine.