Brad Byrd In-Depth: Clint Hoskins talks school lunch fundraiser

On Friday, March 16, High Score Saloon in downtown Evansville will be holding a fundraising event. It will be raising money for the EVSC Foundation. 

All money collected at the door on Friday and placed in pinball machines will go toward help paying for outstanding student school lunch debt.

People can also make a donation by visiting the EVSC Foundation website.

Brad Byrd talks with High Score Saloon co-owner Clint Hoskins about Friday's fundraising event and how he was part of the school lunch program in Evansville.

Transcript of interview:

Brad Byrd: "Welcome to In-Depth. Now to a story about a child who needed help paying for his school lunches. He was part of the school lunch program in Evansville. He remembers the stigma that came with that. This Friday -- his downtown Evansville arcade will be holding a special event for kids. High Score Saloon will be collecting money for the e-v-s-c foundation -- to help pay for outstanding student school lunch debt and there is a lot of it in our community. I'm joined tonight by Clint Hoskins -- a co-owner of High Score Saloon. Clint, it’s great to see you and this is quite a story. You tell me you and your partner Jared Neible wanted to do something to help kids... why?" 

Clint Hoskins: "There’s a lot of need for that in the community, we felt like.  There’s plenty to do in Evansville for kids, but it all tends to be expensive. We knew with the arcade games and us maintaining them, we could provide a way for them to spend quality time with parents, mentors, brothers and so forth. And it just kind of snowballed from there." 

Brad Byrd: "Now you had a very moving post on Facebook. You’ve got a connection on this because you also were a recipient of free school lunches when you were a kid. Tell me about that and how that impacted your life." 

Clint Hoskins: "A story that most kids probably have - you’re a middle class family one day and you wake up the next day and you’re not. Something happens out of your control. So, probably first grade I went on free lunch and we were until 7th or 8th grade - and we got out of it. But, I remember the stigma of - back then you punched in the number and everyone knew, oh that means you had free lunch. And as a kid you have enough to worry about. You have standardized testing or ISTEP, or you know are your clothes cool enough, where you couldn’t afford to be worried about if you had enough money for lunch. But back then, you had reduced and you had free, and you still do. But there’s still kids out there that don’t have either for whatever reason." 

Brad Byrd: "And as though kids have enough problems in today’s world with what’s going on in uh… throughout our schools some of them in this country. You wanted to do this fundraiser and it is on Friday night. It is called the High Score Saloon but you do much more than just this business down there, you’re also involved with Comic Quest. But this Friday night, if you walk in to the doors down to the High Score Saloon and you see all those pinball machines, what’s going to happen with that money?" 

Clint Hoskins: "Well, to get into the arcade for Friday, it’ll be $4 or 2 lunches. But all that cover charge that we collect is going to go to EVSC as well as any money that goes into the pinball machines is also going to be donated as well. We’ve been fortunate that people have actually stepped forward even before the event has started to donate money. The largest sum of which is an anonymous donor said he would match up to $2,000 that we raise. So our original goal was 2,000 and now it’s obviously 4,000."

Brad Byrd: "And you tell me especially in this community the way you have branched out, you and Jared, you're learning that there are so many kids that not necessarily falling through the cracks but they're hiding in plain sight. Basically, a right of every human being is to sit down and have a meal, and that can be a challenge for so many kids." 

Clint Hoskins: "And have a hot meal. I know other places in the country, they reduced the two. If you're outstanding on lunch debt, they give your a peanut butter sandwich and milk rather than steak nuggets, mashed potatoes, what we grew up loving at school." 

Brad Byrd: "Now, the EVSC says it has been working with parents in the community. They're doing everything they can. They offer a lot of free lunches especially in the Summer time. But with this particular situation, I know you said this was a stigma for you when you were growing up as a kid. But looking back now, how do you feel what you received and why was that so important?" 

Clint Hoskins: "Yeah, as a kid, all you think about is you're being made fun of and the stigma that goes a long with being on free lunch or how your clothes look of how people perceive you. So, yeah, you felt shame as a kid, and you felt angry. But growing up, I'm happy the program was there." 

Brad Byrd: "And you're a firefighter? A volunteer firefighter?" 

Clint Hoskins: "I'm a city." 

Brad Byrd: "A city firefighter. And there are other firefighters you have met who have brought kids into certain venues. And that has pretty much expanded your knowledge of what's going on here. Tell me about that." 

Clint Hoskins: "Whenever we started Comic Quest, which is going to be next week, we're going to allow all big brothers and big sisters and CASA sponsors and the kids they sponsor in for free. And we hope to grow with that. We hope to find other organizations that may need our help other doing the EVSC thing. And we're going to try to a charity event every month. So, what we're doing this month is not just this month. Every month we'll do a cause or a charity we'll do a cover at the door. We'll give pinball money. We'll ask the community to help." 

Brad Byrd: "And you've got a Facebook page also. You've got a website I believe. Anybody who wants any information on these events, obviously you're Facebook page will be posting those. And your goal again for this particular event?" 

Clint Hoskins: "It started off as 2,000. A thousand lunches we were hoping. But now with an anonymous donor stepping forward to match that, 4,000 would be amazing." 

Brad Byrd: "And that would be 2,000 lunches?" 

Clint Hoskins: "Yes, sir." 

Brad Byrd: "Well, Clint, best of luck to you. This is Friday night at what time?" 

Clint Hoskins: "Starts at 5 p.m. and goes until will close at midnight. That's when we stop serving. But we will be accepting donations all week. We've actually been getting them already. We've already collected $700 and haven't even open yet. Aside from that, we also have a link on our page. Maybe you can't make, just to drop off a donation, but you can directly donate to the EVSC Foundation." 

Brad Byrd: "Alright, well, very good and of course you are on Main St. down on the lower level. What block is that in again?" 

Clint Hoskins: "300 block." 

Brad Byrd: "300 block. And an idea location for a pinball arcade. We didn't get to talk about some of these incredible pinball machines but the oldest one you got is what around?" 

Clint Hoskins: "Mid 70's." 

Brad Byrd: "Mid 70's from about 40 years old. Clint Hoskins, thank you so much with High Score Saloon. Best of luck on your venture this weekend."

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(This story was originally published on March 13, 2018)

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