Family members said a spaghetti dinner fundraiser Saturday for the Michael Lynn Dingus III Fund gathered more money and support than they had expected.
Volunteers sold 242 carry-out meals from Bethel Baptist Church in Thomson. In all, the event raised $2,092.
Michael, 12, died Aug. 8 when he was hit in the chest by a rifle shot fired by another boy. No charges have been filed in that incident, which took place near the 1400 block of Jean Road.
The grieving continued Saturday, amid the appreciation for the community's help.
"Our grandson did a lot in his 12 years because he moved the community religiously," said Cindy Luke.
"It has exceeded our expectations," she said of ticket sales for the Saturday dinner. "The community has really, really given its support."
Tickets were sold at Queensborough National Bank & Trust Co. and First Bank of Georgia in Thomson.
Peggy Dingus, Michael's other grandmother, was busy with the kitchen crew. Yet another large pot of spaghetti was cooking just a half-hour before the 7 p.m. cutoff.
Family members also were offering a music CD for donations as a further fundraiser. Michael's Smile contains just the title song. It was written and recorded by Michael's uncle Shawn Dingus.
"He was on his way home that day when he heard that Michael died, and he sat down and recorded it," Peggy Dingus said of her son.
The song's lyrics tell of an uncle's love and sadness and his questions about that child's death. He said God explained, "Let me hold him a while; I love Michael's smile."
T-shirts and wrist bands also were for sale Saturday.
The family appreciated the permission to use the Thomson church Saturday, although Michael attended The Vine Community Church at 1706 Augusta Highway. The Vine Pastor Keith Kurtz was on hand at the dinner. He has been instrumental in the fundraisers for the Dingus family.
Two fundraiser dances also are planned, both at Moose Lodge 477, 1606 Augusta Highway. Donations will be accepted for admission to both dances, and Shawn Dingus will sing Michael's Smile at both dances. A teen dance is planned from 8 p.m. to 11 p.m. Friday, Sept. 23. A dance for adults will be held from 8 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 24, to 2 a.m. The Moose will serve a rib eye steak dinner that evening. Proceeds from the $12 dinner will go to the Dingus fund.
All money gathered in the fundraisers goes toward funeral expenses. Michael was the son of Erica Dingus and Michael Dingus of Thomson. He is also survived by a brother, Eric Dingus, 9, and a sister, Maci McTier, age 11/2. Michael is buried at Westview Cemetery in Thomson.