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School Cafeteria Worker Fired For Giving Food To A Child Who Couldn’t Pay

School Lunch

The school day lasts between 7 and 8 hours a day. This means that lunchtime falls during the school day. While some students qualify for free lunch, most need to bring money to pay for their lunch. In many schools, if a student doesn’t have the money for lunch, they are offered a free peanut and butter jelly sandwich. In other schools, students are given a lunch along with a note for their parents saying that they need to put money on their child’s account to get them in good standing. This was the policy at a New Hampshire school, but unfortunately, when a cafeteria worker followed the school’s policy, she was fired.

Bonnie Kimball

Bonnie Kimball had been working in the cafeteria at Mascoma Valley Regional High School for five years. The company who provided the food in the cafeteria was Fresh Picks Cafe, a division of Cafe Services Inc.

The Incident

When a student came through the line without any money, Bonnie gave him an $8 lunch. She told him to bring the money the next day and to let his mother know that she needed to add money to his account. The boy agreed and moved ahead in the line. The next day, the boy brought the money that he owed from the previous day plus the money that he owed for that day’s lunch. Bonnie thought that she did the right thing until she was told that she was fired.

Cafe Services Inc’s Story

After Bonnie was fired, Cafe Services Inc issued a statement saying that they would never fire an employee because they provided lunch to a student. They say that the reason Bonnie was fired was that she violated school and company policy. This basically meant that they fired Bonnie for giving the student a lunch, but didn’t want to admit it. What company would want to admit that they fired an employee for feeding a hungry child?

The School’s Opinion

After Cafe Services Inc. explained their side of this controversy, the school district also chimed in. They didn’t agree with the food service’s policy. A rep from the school district said, “School district policy is to make healthy nutritious school meals available to every child whether or not the child has sufficient funds to cover the cost of the meal.”

Bonnie’s Confusion

Based on the statements made by Cafe Services Inc and Mascoma Valley Regional High School, Bonnie would have been wrong either way. She followed the school district’s policy but didn’t follow Cafe Service Inc’s policy. Had she done things differently, she still would have gotten into trouble. For Bonnie, it was a no-win situation. Being the kind person that she is, she gave the student a lunch. She believed that no child should go hungry all day just because they forgot their lunch money.

The Story Gets Out

When Bonnie was fired, it didn’t take long for the news to spread. Soon, news outlets from all over the country were reporting on the story. When the story got out, Cafe Services Inc. came out looking bad. They didn’t want people thinking that they fired a kind woman for not allowing a child to be hungry. To save face, they decided to offer Bonnie her job back.

A Job Offer

The company reached out to Bonnie and offered to rehire her. They said that she would be given back pay for the days that she wasn’t at work. They also said that they would work with the school district to revise the policies and procedures regarding transactions. Bonnie didn’t take her job back. She stated that she isn’t interested in the politics involved with the job. She believes that she was only offered her job so that the company could keep its contract with the school district.

The Current Contract

While the school district voted to use Cafe Services Inc. for another year, they have decided to open up bidding to other food services companies for the next year. If another company comes in with lower food costs and more lax procedures regarding students who don’t have money for lunch, they are more than willing to change companies.

Public Outrage

This school cafeteria worker fired for giving food to child who couldn’t pay, and the public was outraged. Most parents sided with Bonnie. Everyone agreed that this student shouldn’t have been forced to go without lunch for not having the money. The student brought in the money the next day for the lunch that Bonnie gave him; therefore, she never should have been fired. The whole situation was not only embarrassing for Cafe Services Inc., but it also damaged their reputation.

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