For 14 years, Debbie Solsman worked as a beloved lunch lady at Denver Place Elementary School in Wilmington, Ohio.
She was fired by the district in February, and her supporters raised an angry social media storm.
When a child doesn’t have money for lunch, Solsman said they’re given a cheese sandwich. She said she would upgrade the lunch for those without money, or give them extra food if they were still hungry.
“If they didn’t have enough money in their account, they would get a cheese sandwich instead … The other kids knew when they walked out into the cafeteria why they got the cheese sandwich,” she said.
Solsman said she would also hear stories of food insecurity.
“There were children that got a free lunch that would come back and say, ‘Miss Debbie, I’m still hungry’ … And you don’t know how many times I heard they didn’t have supper that night.”
Solsman said she kept notes of IOUs and paid out of her own pocket for students, but the district suspended and terminated her this February for “not keeping track of her register and providing food to her grandchildren without payment.