This lunch lady was fired for giving free lunches, but we totally salute her

Well, this just might make us completely lose our appetites this afternoon. A kitchen manager in Aurora, Colorado’s Cherry Creek School District lost her job last Friday after giving school lunches to students who didn’t have lunch money.

As told to CBS4 in Denver, Della Curry, who’d been working at Dakota Valley Elementary School for one year, had found herself face to face with “crying first grader” who didn’t “have enough money for lunch.” So she did what any right-minded, kind-hearted individual would do in a situation like this and gave the sad little girl a piping hot mid-day meal. Trouble is, she’s now out of work and on her own, receiving not gratitude from school board officials, but disapproval instead.

“I’ll own that I broke the law. [But] the law needs to change,” says Curry. She’s hoping her case will change the district’s policy.

In response to the story, Cherry Creek School District released the following 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.

But we salute Della for her brave attempts to take much-needed action against children going hungry in school (and at home!). It certainly is a controversial issue that continues to plague the entire nation and it’s safe to say that like Curry, we will never be able to “understand how one of the richest countries in the world cannot provide lunch for its children.” Sure, a few solutions (such as the National School Lunch Program) have been issued throughout the years, but nothing substantial has ever been done to truly conquer this problem, especially for kids whose parents make too much money to qualify, but still don’t have enough money to eat, “It is policy to never give out free food,” Curry told The Denver Post on Tuesday. “That is all fine and dandy until you have little kids not on the free and reduced program and their account goes negative.”

Curry hopes that her dismissal will bring about many changes in her school district. She feels no shame whatsoever in what she has done to try to help.“If me getting fired for it is one way that we can try to change this, I’ll take it in a heartbeat.” You go, girl!

Let’s just say our favorite new lunch lady deserves a high five and some major major props. Way to stand up to the system!

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