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A School Cafeteria Worker Says She Was Fired For Giving Kids Free Food

Della Curry said she knows what she did was against the law, but "I would do it again in a heartbeat."

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Della Curry wrote in a post on Facebook on May 29 that the Cherry Creek School District, which is near Denver, let her go from her job as a kitchen manager at Dakota Valley Elementary School.

She wrote that she knew she was breaking the rules by "giving food to children that did not have money," but she has no regrets. "I do not feel bad about it and I would do it again in a heartbeat," she said.

Facebook: della.curry.9
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In an interview with CBS Denver, Curry explained that if kids didn't have money to buy a lunch and they didn't qualify for free or reduced lunch, she was required to give them a "cheese sandwich" and milk.

She claims this "sandwich" consists of a slice of cheese on a hamburger bun.

"I will never understand how the 'best' country in the world considers a cheese sandwich to be adequate nutrition for a child," Curry wrote on Facebook.

In addition, Curry said that she thinks the qualifications for free or reduced lunch in her district were too restrictive.

Della Curry / Via Facebook: permalink.php

She told CBS Denver there were many children whose parents made too much money to qualify, but still were coming to school unable to buy a lunch.

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

At the school, a family of four needs a household income of under $31,000 to qualify for free lunch. For a reduced lunch, their income must be below $45,000, CBS reported.

The Cherry Creek School District said in a statement they couldn't comment on Curry's allegations, but insisted children in their district never go hungry.

Facebook: permalink.php

The statement said in part:

The law does not require the school district to provide a 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. No child is ever allowed to go without lunch.

After receiving support online, Curry established a Facebook page to work toward fixing what she calls a "broken school lunch system."

Della Curry / Via facebook.com

“If me getting fired for it is one way that we can try to change this, I’ll take it in a heartbeat,” she told CBS Denver.

BuzzFeed News has reached out to Curry for comment.

Stephanie McNeal is a social news editor for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.

Contact Stephanie McNeal at stephanie.mcneal@buzzfeed.com.

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