Teacher raises $100,000 and spends it on food so kids don’t go hungry during the holidays

To be a great teacher, you need more than just excellent critical thinking, knowledge, and credentials. You need to have a big heart so you can impact the lives of your students.

A North Carolina teacher went up and beyond for her students.

Turquoise Lejeune Parker started a ‘foodraiser’ for her students. It became a yearly event for her.

Turquoise started back in 2015. During that time, a parent in need approached her.

In an interview with WBTW, she shared:

“This all started with one family, one family sent me a message in 2015. This mom said we don’t have anything at all, I don’t have anything for my kids.”

As a teacher and a second parent to her students, the teacher knew she had to do something.

Together with her husband, they sent a message to everyone they knew. They asked for donations for everyone in her class.

With other people’s help, they were able to collect a lot.

By the time the fundraiser was done that year, they had enough groceries to feed everyone throughout the holiday break. They were able to feed not just a whole grade level but a whole school and more.

Last year, they were able to earn more than $100,000.

With other volunteers, they took the cash and went straight to North Pointe Drive’s Costco. There, they bought tons of non-perishable groceries, enough for more than 5,100 students from several public schools in Durham.

It’s their biggest one yet.

And their event continues to grow. In fact, they were able to secure bags not just for students but also for school support staff. There were cafeteria workers and bus drivers who were able to take home bags to ease hunger during the holiday.

School cafeteria food helps students stay full.

However, when school isn’t in, such as during the holiday season, some students struggle to get access to three meals a day. It becomes even tougher for kids whose parents have to work the entire day. Fortunately, there are teachers like Turquoise who are willing to lend a helping hand.

Although her effort won’t end hunger for every student, it’s one step toward helping people in need.

For Turquoise, the kids aren’t just her students. In fact, she thinks of them as her own children. And as a ‘parent’, she knows she won’t be able to sleep unless she knows that everyone is alright.

In the same interview, she said:

“We owe this to everyone who is suffering from systemic oppression. Our folks are struggling to provide the very basic need, food and water and a place to live, that’s ridiculous.”

She hopes to inspire others to help.

The North Carolina teacher is hoping to continue her tradition yearly. She aspires for more people to help her cause and for the ‘foodraising’ event to grow even larger. That way, they’ll be able to help more students, particularly people of color who belong to the low-income sector.

Watch the entire story in the video below.

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