School cafeteria worker quits after she’s ordered to take food from kids who can’t pay

September 22, 2016
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It sounds like a scene out of Oliver Twist — except it’s happening in Pennsylvania, in 2016.

Earlier this month, Canon-McMillan school district cafeteria worker Stacy Koltiska was ordered to take away a hot lunch she served to a hungry Grade One student because he couldn’t pay for it.

So she quit on the spot.

“He just looked like a deer in headlights, like ‘What is happening here?’ And then his little eyes just welled up with tears.”– Stacy Koltiska

It was a part of a new policy by the school to refuse meals to kids as young as six-years-old, if their parents had left an outstanding balance on their accounts.

In this case, the parents of the kids had an overdrawn account of more than $25.

She says the meals were taken away — and then thrown out. In their place, the kids were given two slices of bread with a single slice of cheese.

Here is part of Stacy Koltiska’s interview with As It Happens host Carol Off.

Carol Off: Just take us back to this lunch time when this young boy came to get his meal. What happened?

Stacy Koltiska: [We were told] to serve the child the hot lunch and then, when we find out they don’t have money, we take it from them and give them the cheese sandwich and then throw [the hot lunch] away.

CO: So this boy had his lunch and then what happened?

SK: First, he just looked like a deer in headlights, like ‘What is happening here?’ And then his little eyes just welled up with tears. You could tell he was holding back tears. It is sinful and shameful. It is unimaginable, quite honestly, that this is happening. It was the most heart-wrenching thing. I looked to my boss. I said ‘I can’t do this. I won’t do this.’ I said, ‘No, I’m quitting.’

CO: Tell me about this cheese sandwich?

SK:  It’s just two pieces of bread with one piece of cold cheese. It’s not even toasted. It just humiliates the child because then all the other kids can see that he has this cheese sandwich and they don’t.

CO: It’s going to be clear that he doesn’t have the money to pay for his lunch?

“Children are God’s greatest gifts and, if we can’t protect them and stand up for them, who else is going to?”– Stacy Koltiska

SK: Exactly. How do we expect our children to go to school for eight hours, focus, concentrate, do well in school, while they’re hungry? I mean, it just makes less than zero sense to me. You’re punishing a child for the responsibility of the parent. This is a little six, seven-year-old boy. Are you kidding me?

CO: What did it bring back for you when you saw what happened?

SK: I grew up poor. I was on food stamps as a child. Even if I weren’t poor, just as a human being, to do that to a child. Children are God’s greatest gifts and, if we can’t protect them and stand up for them, who else is going to? To put people over profit and greed. We just live in a greedy world.


  1. Chikki Regina Felangee

    September 22, 2016 at 7:55 pm

    Omg! Horrible!

  2. Tammy Albertson

    September 22, 2016 at 9:25 pm

  3. Anita Clamp

    September 22, 2016 at 10:20 pm

    This breaks my heart. That poor little boy missed out on a meal because his parents couldn’t afford to settle the bill (25;00)….are you serious? Feed the child…they just threw it in the damned garbage anyway.Some schools make zero sense…..send a note home to the parents ….don’t punish the little lad….it isn’t his fault.Our children are so precious and we all must make sure they are treated as such.Kudos for the cafeteria lady for not putting up with such crap.

  4. Althea

    October 6, 2016 at 7:42 am

    I cannot believe this happened to this poor little one. Everything in this day and age is about money. We want to feed and clothe people in other countries. What about our country where we have people homeless and hungry. and for this school to do this to a child makes me sick. something like this a child will remember for years to come. SHAME ON THIS SCHOOL. I am catholic and we are to take care of human life in need especially Gods children.

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