School Kitchen Manager Fired for Feeding Hungry Students Free*
By Roisin O’Connor
A kitchen manager claims she was fired from a school in Colorado for giving free lunches to students who could not afford to pay for them.
Della Curry, 35, supervised food preparation at Dakota Valley Elementary School in Aurora, Colorado, but says she was let go because she gave food to students.
The married mother of two was interviewed by CBS Denver, where she said she would see students who were often not signed up for free lunch programmes “crying” because they didn’t have enough money for food.
To qualify for a free lunch, a family of four in Colorado requires an income of around $31,000, while students can qualify for a reduced lunch if their family’s income is below $45,000.
Curry claimed the students she helped did not meet the requirements for either programme, and that she had paid for some of their meals out of her own pocket.
Under federal law, students who fail to qualify receive a single slice of cheese in a hamburger bun and a small carton of milk, but Curry said this was “not sufficient”.
In a Facebook post made on 29 May, Curry wrote:
“I was let go today from my position as a kitchen manager for Cherry Creek School District. I was fired for giving food to children that did not have money.
“While I know that what I did was legally wrong, I do not feel bad about it and I would do it again in a heartbeat. I will never understand how the ‘best’ country in the world considers a cheese sandwich to be adequate nutrition for a child.”
Curry added that she would “never understand how one of the richest countries in the world cannot find provide lunch for its children”.
In a statement released to local media, Cherry Creek School district said it had followed policy in firing Curry. It also said that it was not legally obligated to provide food to children who had “forgotten” their lunch money.
“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 statement read.