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NC Teacher Raises Over $100,000 To Feed Hungry Students Over Holiday Break

NC Teacher Raises Over $100,000 To Feed Hungry Students Over Holiday Break

She was able to feed all the kids at 12 different schools!

A North Carolina teacher raised over $100,000 to feed hungry students over the holiday break, WKRC News reports. 

While many teachers are waiting patiently to pack it up for the winter break, Turquoise LeJeune Parker has vowed not to leave until she can make sure all of her students are taken care of. Since 2015, she’s been collecting donations every holiday season to ensure she can give care packages of food to students so they’ll be fed everyday during the two-week break.

“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,’” Parker explained. 

That’s when she enlisted the help of her husband, Donald Parker, and everyone they knew to see if they could help purchase food for her 25 students. With the help of attorney Greg Doucette and a host of volunteers, the group of good samaritans were able to pull it off. The next year, they decided to do it all over again, helping even more children. 

“We were able to feed the whole grade level, and then two grade levels, and then the whole school, and then three schools, and it kept growing,” said Parker. 

This year is Parker’s biggest giveback yet, with the entire gym at Lakewood Elementary filled with bags of food purchased from community donations. With the help of volunteers and generous donors, Parker and her husband were able to purchase more than $100,000 worth of food at Costco. It was enough food to feed students at 12 different schools, a total of more than 5,000 students. 

Photo Courtesy of WNCN/CBS Newspath

Parker says it’s a labor of love and she feels it’s her duty to help these children. The kids she calls her “professors,” are really teaching her lessons. Most of the students are on free or reduced lunches and many of them are children of color. She says she feels obligated. 

“I can’t sleep unless I know they’re okay…We owe this to everyone who is suffering from systemic oppression. Our folks are struggling to provide the very basic needs -- food, water, and a place to live. That’s ridiculous,” Parker said. 

She hopes that her efforts help families worry about one less thing over the holidays and she’s impressed with how her Durham community has banded together to keep everything going. She plans to keep it going for as long as she can, all for the love of the children. 

“It’s truly mind-blowing at how fast this grows. Really, like, my heart really just wants to make sure my babies are okay,” she said. 

Thank you for all you’re doing, Turquoise! 

Photo Courtesy of WNCN/CBS Newspath