A North Carolina teacher made a big difference in her community by raising $100,000 to fight childhood hunger over the Christmas holiday.
Turquoise LeJeune Parker, a teacher at Lakewood Elementary School in Durham, N.C., hosts an annual fundraiser to provide food that needy students in her district can take home with them over the two-week winter break.
This year, Parker, local attorney T. Greg. Doucette, and dedicated volunteers raised enough money to provide kids with more than 12 pounds of food each to take home for the holidays, Fox News reported.
The fundraiser, called Mrs. Parker's Professors Foodraiser, began seven years ago after a parent asked Parker where her family could find food over the break.
Parker was working at Eastway Elementary School at the time. She realized that if one family needed food assistance, there were probably more families in need. So she sprung into action, reaching out to all of her contacts for help.
"I'm trying to send each of my 22 kids home with a bag of nonperishables to help their families with them being out for Christmas break. If you know anyone wanting to donate, let me know," Parker wrote in 2015.
That first year, all 22 students in her class went home with food. The next year, Parker's "foodraiser" was able to feed an entire grade. In 2017, they raised enough money to provide food for two whole grades.
These days, Mrs. Parker's Professors Foodraiser has enough support to feed children in multiple schools with the kind and generous donations from the community, the report said.
Parker and Doucette raised $103,000 this year, enough to fill up an 18-wheel truck, donated by Lowe's, with food from Costco. Lowe's also provided a forklift, bags, and sent employees to help pack everything for delivery.
The food was taken to Lakewood Elementary, where volunteers divided it into individual bags for the children. The bags were then put on U-Haul trucks and delivered to 12 separate schools.
"We are DONE! The 7th Annual Mrs. Parkers Professors Foodraiser is DONE!! AND we finished before dark. We’ve delivered a bag of groceries for EVERY student at 12 Durham Public Schools for the winter break," Parker wrote on Facebook last week.
In another Facebook post on Tuesday, Parker reported that 5,061 bags of groceries were delivered to households this week.
"Thanks to a VERY HUUUUUUUUUGE TEAM of absolutely beautiful people, because I DO NOT and cannot do this by myself, the last bags of groceries have just been delivered," Parker said.