A former elementary school employee is not sorry she broke the law when she decided to give school lunches to kids who didn’t have money for food, CBS Denver reports.
Della Curry, who worked as a kitchen manager at Dakota Valley Elementary School in Aurora, Colo., was fired by the Cherry Creek School District after breaking the rules and feeding the children.
“I had a first-grader in front of me, crying, because she doesn’t have enough money for lunch. Yes, I gave her lunch,” Curry said, unapologetically. “I’ll own that I broke the law. The law needs to change.”
According to the news station, in the school district, students who are not eligible for free or reduced lunch usually receive a cheese sandwich and a small carton of milk. To Curry, that alternative is not enough for children, and she has taken to sometimes paying for lunches out of her own pocket.
“I will never understand how the ‘best’ country in the world considers a cheese sandwich to be adequate nutrition for a child. I will never understand how one of the richest countries in the world cannot provide lunch for its children,” the mother of two said in a Facebook post.
In order to be eligible for the free lunch program, a family of four would have to earn a household income of no more than $31,000. For reduced lunch, household income would have to be less than $45,000.
According to Curry, the children she assisted did not qualify for the programs. “Kids whose parents make too much money to qualify […] a lot of times they don’t have enough money to eat,” she said.
One parent was thankful when Curry helped his son after the child forgot his lunch money.
“Do something different than fire her," Darnell Hill told the news station. “She’s trying to help.”
Curry, for her part, isn’t too upset about her predicament if it means bringing attention to the law. “If me getting fired for it is one way that we can try to change this, I’ll take it in a heartbeat,” she said.
The school district later released a statement:
The law does not require the school district to provide the meal to children who have forgotten their lunch money, that is a district decision. According to our practice, we provide hot meals to students the first three times they forget their lunch money and charge their parents’ accounts. The fourth time, we provide a cheese sandwich and milk.
The district has worked to keep lunch prices low and still meet the federal nutrition requirements. The costs of our lunch program are not covered by the prices we charge. At the end of the year, any unpaid accounts revert back to the general fund which also covers instruction, security, building maintenance and overall operations.
Read more at CBS Denver.