Turquoise LeJeune Parker, a teacher at Lakewood Elementary School in Durham, North Carolina, understands that the holidays are a time for giving. Parker has been working on a “foodraiser” to support kids who may face food poverty at home since 2015 around the holidays.
Students who rely on school cafeteria breakfasts and lunches may go hungry during the holidays since school is out for two weeks. Parker started the campaign to give back to the community in order to ensure that all pupils could eat over the holiday. She began working on the project in 2015. Today quoted Parker as saying:
“I had a family approach me and say, “We don’t know how we’ll eat.” ‘Could you kindly assist us?’
“However, we understood that if one family was asking, there were likely many more that might benefit from the same thing,” she continued.
This started the wheels in action, and in 2018, they raised over $7,000 from the community, demonstrating the necessity for this type of fundraising. According to ABC 11’s Parker:
“When we raised $7,000 for the first time in 2018, we were able to feed the entire school. That struck a lot of people in a different way because they could see that there was a need.”
Parker and the community raised over $106,000 in 2021, making it the most successful fundraising year yet. She stated, ”
“Stunning. I’m dumbfounded. It has rendered me dumbfounded. I’ve shed a tear or two today. Every day, I weep a little bit.”
Parker and the ever-growing list of contributors and community partners she’s worked with gave an enormous amount to assist out youngsters and their families in need, clearly tears of delight in her eyes. She and her small group of volunteers went to the North Pointe
Drive Costco and purchased non-perishable goods for almost 5,100 pupils. The youngsters come from a variety of Durham Public Schools, and their families may go hungry over the holidays. She said to ABC 11:
“Two weeks away from school without a lunch or breakfast is a long time. There are three meals. Children consume a lot of food. Food is not cheap.”
In Durham, food insecurity is a big problem, with low-income persons of color suffering the most. According to ABC’s Our America Equity Report, approximately 75 percent of Black and Latino residents in Durham do not have access to a nearby grocery that is within walking distance. That’s a quarter of a million more than white Durham citizens.
98 percent of the students from the 12 schools receiving goods from the fundraising get free or reduced lunch at school, and many of them rely on the school for their sole meal. Parker estimates that “about 5,106 youngsters” will get food.
Parker and volunteers bagged the goods and delivered them to two grade levels at a time last week. Because the fundraiser was so successful this year, there was even more food to deliver to support employees, such as bus drivers and cafeteria workers, who could use the additional aid this Christmas season.