Teacher Raises $106K, Spends It All On Food To Ensure Students Don’t Go Hungry During Christmas Break

An elementary school teacher in North Carolina has raised more than $100,000 for needy students this holiday break.

Turquoise LeJeune Parker is a teacher at Lakewood Elementary School in Durham, NC. Every year she hosts a fundraiser for needy students. This year she raised a whopping $106,000.

“Amazing, speechless. It leaves me speechless,” Parker told ABC7. “I’ve cried a little bit today. I cry a little bit every day.”

Parker and her small army of volunteers took the cash to their local Costco to buy non-perishable groceries for over 5,100 students from a dozen Durham public schools whose families could go hungry over the holiday break.

“Two weeks is a long time to be out of school without lunch or breakfast at school. Three meals. Children eat a lot. Food is expensive,” Parker said.

Of the 12 schools where students are getting bag loads of holiday groceries, 98% of them receive free or reduced lunch at school. For many, schools provide their only meals.

This year’s “foodraiser” is the biggest one yet.

“In 2018 when we did $7,000 for the first time, we fed the whole school,” said Parker.

This year, there was even food to send bags home for school support staff — including bus drivers and cafeteria workers.