Lunch lady who gave free meal to hungry child fired for ‘theft’

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POCATELLO, Idaho — A school lunch lady in Idaho claims she was fired from her job last week after she gave a hungry student a free meal.

Dalene Bowden told KPVI that a 12-year-old girl came up to her and said she didn’t have any money for lunch.

“My heart hurts,” Bowden told KPVI. “I truly loved my job, and I can’t say that I wouldn’t do it again.”

Bowden said her supervisor saw her give the little girl food last Tuesday and reported the incident.

“He said I was on permanent leave until he called me. I should not call them. He will call me. And they never called me. I got the letter,” she explained.

The letter said that Bowden was terminated for “theft.”

Social media has since rallied behind Bowden. Since she was fired, Bowden has hired an attorney and started an online petition to help get her job back.

The school district did not respond to KPVI’s request for comment.


  • tom m

    We’re all sad about kids that are hungry. But giving away others’ money is not the way you go about dealing with the problem. That’s just stealing.

    Now, if she would’ve paid for the kid’s meal, she’d be all over social media for another reason…

    • J Michael Fimbres

      You’ve just described the the Democratic Party’s very credo…and that is not meant to be flippant …it’s fact. I think it was a poor management decision to fire her too.

  • horrible

    F people, am I right? It’s always about money. Forget helping out another human being!

  • steve

    Common sense people. If a child is hungry feed the child.Thank you for caring about someone else,hope you get your job back.

  • ll2932

    And you wonder why kids can’t concentrate and pass tests in school. They are hungry. Free education for all should include at least 2 free balanced meals despite income just like textbooks. Give this lady her job back and put her on the school board.

  • Kumi

    Tons of food tossed away on a daily basis, by schools, restaurants etc, while people starve on the street. What is wrong with this picture and the legal system?

  • jay lambeau

    i don’t know these people or the details of this situation but:

    she should not have given the child a free meal without first discussing it with her boss, the child’s teacher(s), or the principal. any adult would have paid for the child’s meal. they should have called the parents, too. the school should have reprimanded her or suspended her; firing her seems rash, i don’t care if it’s near christmas or not. i believe the negative press this is receiving will help the fired employee

  • Idiot liberals

    It’s not that she fed a hungry child once…it’s that she gave away taxpayer money. It was theft, not her own money

    If this kid is like my co-workers’ kids, she goes hungry while the parents drive newer cars, spend over $200 a month on cable, have drug habits and waste the WIC, food stamps and welfare designed for the child.

    She should’ve brought the hungry child to the attention of her supervisor and they could have alerted CPS to check the parents’ status.

    Bleeding hearts will be happy to know that she got her job back and one of the parents was arrested on drug charges.

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