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Elementary school kitchen manager fired for giving students without money free lunch

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AURORA, Colo. -- A married mother of two was fired from her job as the kitchen manager at an elementary school recently for giving out lunches to students who didn't have money, CBS Denver reports.

Della Curry was the manager at Dakota Valley Elementary School near Aurora, Colorado. She told CBS Denver that she would see students -- who often times weren't signed up for free lunch programs -- crying because of hunger and no lunch money.

"I had a first grader in front of me, crying because she doesn't have enough money for lunch," Curry told CBS. "Yes, I gave her lunch."

Typically, students who don't have lunch and don't qualify for free or reduced lunch receive one slice of cheese on a hamburger bun, and a small milk. Believing that meal not sufficient, Curry often bought lunch with money from her own pocket, she said.

To qualify for free lunch, a family of four needs to have an income of around $31,000. Curry said many students she helped did not qualify for that program. Parents stepped up in Curry's defense, saying she often helped when students forget their lunch money.

The school district claims it followed policy in firing her. Anyone who has ever been terminated -- like Curry -- directly violated policy, the district said.

For more on the story, click here. 

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37 comments

  • Barb

    Rehire her! I would do the same thing. No one who truelly cares about children could see this and not do something. Administrators wake up. Instead of firing her, why not have a list of students who were given lunch because they were hungry and had no lunch. Send a bill to the parents on a weekly or monthly basis. Let them know that if their child is not provided a lunch daily, they will be billed for one. I guarantee that the child will have a lunch. If not, the parents pay.

    • Melissa

      I can only wish that when my kids start going to school that there is people just like her working the school what an amazing woman. the people whom fired her should be ashamed of themselves. My god our children can’t get free lunch but prisoners can.

      • Becky

        Derek,
        You are glad she was firedfor feeding a hungry child? Why involve CP S without knowing all the facts? It clearly says that the child did not have enough money. Did she lose some? It is the end of the school year and the school does not want a balance in the red. I am glad you can pay for your child’s lunch. I do the same. You would have the heart to deny a child lunch? Understand that food is thrown away after lunch is over. I would rather that food go into that child’s belly than the trash.

      • Becky

        So true Melissa! A prisoner will not be denied food, but school policy will deny a first grader lunch. This should not be happening to children.

    • lomie0

      She shouldn’t be rehired, she should be put in charge of that school since her priorities are clearly more fit for the position than the current people running it.

  • today was a good day

    WTH?? so, this country is all about helping the hungry in other countries but what about here??? they rather throw away perfectly good food instead of feeding these children? most companies and restaurants throw away food and they will fire any employees that take it home or give it away!! WHY?? there is hungry people here in the USA why are we throwing away food and or keeping it away from people that need it, specially kids???? She gets fired beicasue of this? than the person who fired her should answer some questions about hunger in the USA and how this is hurtinng their pockets!! GOOD for HER!! and I pray that she gets a job soon that will appreaciate her compassion and care for these kids!!

  • jennieleah

    Some schoolsl now provide free lunch for everyone and breakfast too. I think they should. If I were that lady, I would nt want to work with people like that anyway. If a child is crying because he or she is hungry. dammit feed them!! We all pay plenty of money, this should not even be a question!

  • Bob

    I am sick and tired of hearing about policies when these administrators should have enough common sense to understand hunger is not something to take lightly. I think they should all go hungry for a day or two to know what that feels like and maybe they will learn to pull their heads out of their A$$E$ and have more of a heart than to fire a woman that has a brain and a heart to help out these children when they need food.

  • Jazmin lopez

    This so upsetting!
    This lady should be rewarded for caring for those innocent children that don’t have enough money to pay for their own meals; how do prisoners get free meals after committing terrible crimes, and our children have to pay for their own meals?!… makes no sense!

  • Derek

    Glad she was fired.
    Cps needs to take the kids away if the parents cannot afford to feed their children.
    My sons school charges $1.75 per day for lunch. 20 school days a month is $35.
    I bet you the parents have a cell phone instead of a landline $12.99 per month. I bet you they have internet and cable.
    Who ever has a cell phone internet or cable but cannot spend $35 per month is a horrible parent.
    Also instead of having a $250 car payment have a $125 lease a civic

    It only cost $35 per month to feed your kid at school.

    • Amy

      Really? She should be fired for using money out of her pocket to help kids who are hungry at no fault of their own? Sure, CPS should do something (as if they really would..) if the parents are being negligent and stupid with money – if they can afford to actually give their child lunch money, but don’t. But it’s not the kid’s fault that they don’t have lunch money and not her fault that she’s helping said kid. So punish the child for negligent parents? Punish the manager for looking out for a child in need? Your logic makes no sense. Punish the ones who really shouldn’t be even though you already state who *should* be punished. And if you’re glad she’s fired because she violated policy, then you’re right up there with the Administration who cares more about the policy than the well being of hungry kids.

    • Cheryl Ann

      It only costs $35 dollars a month to buy school lunch? Maybe where you are at, but in my school district it costs $97.5 a month for one child! The schools are throwing away food – and we’re talking elementary school kids here. Little kids that forget their money, that lose their money, that might not have had the money period. The kitchen manager did right – even if the kids don’t qualify for free lunch, they might be on the border of it.

    • Becky

      Derek,
      You are glad she was firedfor feeding a hungry child? Why involve CP S without knowing all the facts? It clearly says that the child did not have enough money. Did she lose some? It is the end of the school year and the school does not want a balance in the red. I am glad you can pay for your child’s lunch. I do the same. You would have the heart to deny a child lunch? Understand that food is thrown away after lunch is over. I would rather that food go into that child’s belly than the trash.

    • Tim

      This dear lady has proven to be such a great example of compassion and humanity. And you, Derek, are a good example of inhumanity and what is wrong with this country.

  • Cheryl

    Wow, fire her for this? She did a kind thing, wish I had known her when a child as I went hungry a lot at times due to parent’s hardships. Why I worked since young to help out.

  • Christopher

    Let’s not forget the outrage she would have received if the story went the other way and she did follow “policy”. How pissed would parents have been for letting those kids go hungry.

  • Caleb

    This is amazing god bless this woman i would have done the exact same thing no child should have to go without a meal there’s too many selfish people nowadays.

  • Darren

    Actually, the entire school board should be fired and banned from working with or near children ever again. We call it a zero-tolerance policy for wretched, compassionless excuses for human beings.

  • Hollie Roland

    I am sorry this is bull! It really irks me that people who have killed others get a free ride through prison including tuition if they so choose to further their education and the good hard working american people cant get lunch for their kids at school because they may not be able to afford it so the child starves.. It’s crap!

  • Helen

    Shame on you people in the school system. I’d gladly fund a child fro lunch. Tell me how and where! Rehire her, she is doing what she must for a hungry child in the USA. Where are you ppl from, you embarrass me!!!

  • Lynar De Luca

    As parents and citizens we should be outraged by the fact that kids are going hungry. I mean isn’t this education one of the “freedoms” that our soldiers are fighting for? While it looks like this may be a local policy this probably comes down from the Federal Government that has allowed food corporations to lobby so hard that our kids’ lunch program is now being supplied by huge corporations like Coca Cola, Kraft, and Monsantos. The Federal Government cut funding to schools in the 80’s and the biggest hits were the school lunch programs, now the government allows for corporations to be contracted and then subsidizes the corn that they fill this disgusting food with. While this school lunch is slowly poisoning our children I agree that some lunch is better then no lunch. Wake up and realize what you are eating and who is feeding it to you – this is not a school issue this is a Federal Government issue and we all need to be aware of it.

    • Drew Brenneman

      The district needs to revamp their policies and see the kids in person. Maybe the crying kids will wake up those HEARTLESS officials. Who should be drug by their necks down a freeway!!!!! It infuriates me about the policies and piss poor care for the health of the kids. I would post harsher comments about the district officials, but I’ll refrain.

  • momof2cubs

    I guess their policy is to starve kids. Rehire this lady. She is paying for their lunches, it’s not like she paid on the schools dime! Good Lord….

  • Ron Weir

    Take a poll…”School District”…you will find that the percentage of American Teachers Association and parent Teachers Assoc., will be greater than your vote on this type of policy. Open your hearts….or are you investors of the Monsanto, Group ?

  • Alice Mcknight

    So we feed other countries all the time , but we can’t feed hungry kids in our own country. How sad is that? The school has some serious problems… (iwtywtpiiidlwyhi)

  • Drew Brenneman

    The district officials need to be fired themselves!!!!!! The idea of hamburger buns with cheese IS NOT A DAMN MEAL!!!!! There is NO substance for a child to grow on or get energy from. The district officials should be ashamed for firing the kitchen manager and their thinking of the bread and cheese meal. That to me is damn near child abuse not giving a HUNGRY crying child a hot meal that he/she needs. The parents should be picketing the district officials asking for resignations from all the officials or go to the state education board and report the district to the state. It makes me outraged that the district cares more for money than the health of the children.

  • jamal

    i’m jamal from Tanzania. I’m 13 years but i have many problem i don’t get launch because i’m poor please if there someone to help me please.