Over a simple act of kindness, a school lunch worker was fired for feeding a hungry child. Della Curry, a former cafeteria employee at a middle school in a Denver suburb, was terminated Friday for giving away free food to a student who didn’t have enough lunch money, according to a CNN report.
Curry is a mother of two who knows how important it is to feed a child and do whatever is necessary to have them not go to bed on an empty stomach. She headed the kitchen at Dakota Valley Elementary School in Aurora, Colorado, and explained how it broke her heart to see just one child hungry.
School cafeteria workers claims she was fired for giving free food to hungry students http://t.co/bPUoukeC5I pic.twitter.com/yy4qLV4bVy
— WPTV (@WPTV) June 3, 2015
“I had a first grader in front of me, crying, because she doesn’t have enough money for lunch. Yes, I gave her lunch. I’ll own that I broke the law. The law needs to be changed.”
In wake of school worker’s firing and interviews with the media, officials at Cherry Creek Schools issued 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. 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.”
— CNN Wire (@CNNWire) June 3, 2015
In response to the school’s statement, the ex-school worker said the provisions in place are not enough for a hungry student. To her, being fired doesn’t make sense if it’s the discretion of the district to provide children with meals no matter the reason they are without money.
Curry said that she often used her own money when she learned a student was short or without funds to pay for a meal. She was aware of the policy regarding the free lunch program. However, she believed the risk outweighed the punishment when it involved children eating or going hungry. Being fired by the school is worth the risk to her.
To the woman’s point, there’s a bit of irony in America. Despite being the most powerful country in the world, millions of children go to bed nightly without meals. Others are left undernourished. Feeding America provides some hunger statistics on households across the country. The numbers may very well shock you.
“In 2013, 49.1 million Americans lived in food insecure households, including 33.3 million adults and 15.8 million children.”
“In 2013, households that had higher rates of food insecurity than the national average included households with children (20 percent), especially households with children headed by single women (34 percent) or single men (23 percent), Black non-Hispanic households (26 percent) and Hispanic households (24 percent).”
On the school worker fired for the hungry child handout, she remains cautiously optimistic. While she wants her job back, the larger message is for Congress to enact laws that address the growing concerns over hunger and poverty.
[Photo by Jana Birchum/Getty Images]