Woman Fired for Feeding Needy Child Gets Job Back

Cafeteria worker reinstated after story makes the news

Good deeds aren’t supposed to go unrewarded, but Dianne Brame’s got her fired on Tuesday when the school cafeteria worker was found to be giving meals to a needy fourth grader. But the story got a slightly less terrible ending when she was reinstated Friday after the news started making the rounds.

According to KSDK.com, Brame noticed the child had been on the school’s free lunch program, but his eligibility had not been renewed and he was not bringing money for lunch. Brame said she thought a language barrier had prevented the boy’s mother from understanding the paperwork.

A child not on the free lunch program who did not have money for lunch was supposed to be given a cold cheese sandwich and a carton of milk, but Brame said she was worried that he’d be made fun of, so she gave him the regular meal anyway. She did that for two months before a coworker reported her to Chartwell’s, the school’s foodservice provider.

"Actually, it was looked upon as stealing because that food wasn't mine to give to that child," Brame told KSDK after the incident. "I don't necessarily look at it as wrong. I violated my contract with them. I knew the rules and regulations. But I don't think it was wrong to feed that kid."

According to MSN, Brame said she was given the option of being “demoted and transferred” or let go. Brame turned down the transfer because she walks to work and could not get to the other school, having lost her car and house after her husband died in February.

After the story made the news, Chartwells reinstated Brame at her school and said the whole thing had been an "unfortunate misunderstanding." The student has since been reenrolled in the school's free lunch program. 

“The welfare of the students, staff and employees at all of the school districts we serve is Chartwells’ primary concern, and we are pleased that this misunderstanding has been resolved for the benefit of students and our employees,” the company said in a statement.

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Tla428's picture

I literally burst out crying when I was reading this..".lost car and husband"...


If I were staying with a family because I was hard on my luck and I saw a homeless person without shoes, would it be ok for me to take one piece clothing per day from the home owner for months to give to the homeless person?

If I was watching my neighbors pets and I saw a hungry little kitten outside would it be ok for me to use my neighbors food everyday to feed this kitten without ever telling them?

If I went into a grocery store and saw what I thought was a hungry child outside should I take food every day for months without paying to bring back out to the child?

My heart goes out to the teacher but the end doesn't justify the means - It is stealing anyway you look at it. She handled it wrong. She should have taken the right steps to handle it properly. Stealing is illegal and immoral.

Too many people dehumanize businesses and then turn around and blame companies for treating people like numbers instead of humans. It goes both ways. Just because a business is in business to make money doesn't make it ok to steal from them. Double standards.

Her heart is in the right place. I am happy it all worked out in the end.


What is missing here is that no child is ever denied food at any public school, this school provided cheese sandwich and milk. Our school district provides PBJ and milk. Perhaps she might have gone to the food service administrator to advise that there was an issue with the account for this child, while providing the alternate lunch. The issue is that this employee did not follow the procedure. I guess I would probably bring the child food from my home, rather than "take" it from my employer. Our school district does not throw food out and we are not paid for unused food. Quite the opposite.

BCHparent's picture

Where & when I worked, I personally was told to throw out food every day. (they would also send 6 extra servings...just in case) Sometimes my supervisor was there to make sure it got thrown out. We had to give a certain amount & only that amount.
It broke my heart to have to throw away food that was still sealed by the manufacture. (this was food the children were forced to take, but didn't want to eat: cereal, poptarts, muffins, & what not) Especially when I knew there were other children who could have eaten it.
There was also paperwork that could have been filled out to pay for the amount of food given to children in that case at a later time....so "stealing from the company" was a non issue.
The supervisor would give the ok for staff members to take the left over food on occasions..this too could have been given to the hungry children without being considered "stealing".
Yes, Chartwell is a big company with many resources available...another good reason to find a better system that would benefit not hurt.

BCHparent's picture

All the school did wrong, was entering into a contract with Chartwells. Once signing the contract, they have no say as to how Chartwell operates.
Send your angry letters to Chartwell!

Interested Reader's picture

This was no "misunderstanding" and the co-worker who turned her in should be ashamed of herself. Since when is helping someone in need wrong? Also, inmates get fed more than a cold cheese sandwich and a carton of milk!!! So do our pets!!! Shame on this school for firing Ms. Brame instead of praising her for recognizing the child was in need of at least one good meal per day!!! It should not take publicity (embarrassment) from a news story to make a school finally do the right thing!!! Instead, it should motivate all schools to actively identify how many other children are in similar situations!!! There should be more people like you Ms. Brame. God Bless You!!!

BCHparent's picture

Don't blame the school. Blame CHARTWELL.
The school hires Chartwell, then has no say in their operation.
Chartwell fired her, NOT the school.


Let's not forget about the big mouth co-worker who turned this kind lady in for helping a hungry child. Unfortunately we have all of these lawyers and executives out there who promote reporting coworkers for anything regardless if it is true or not so they can investigate it. This big mouth co-worker should be fired for running her mouth and not caring about her co-worker and more importantly not caring about a hungry child. Shame on her but she is the type of person the lawyers like so she will be protected.

MammiLinda's picture

I cannot believe in the hard economic times we are facing that a company would fire a woman who was kind enough to feed a hungry child. If it would have been me I would have done the same thing. A child cannot be productive if he/she is hungry and science has proven this. I also cannot believe that they are to be given a cold cheese sandwich and milk. For real? How can you even justify that that is a nutritious meal for a child. I wouldn't eat it. It's not enough and it's not very healthy. They could have at least made it something hot like some soup and the sandwich. That would at least have given the child a more filled stomach. This is why our country is so horrible anymore. So many people are greedy to make the big bucks and forget about everyone else. I am so glad that poor woman got her job back and more importantly that the child was fed and is now enrolled in the program for future lunches. Shame on Chartwell. You are a disgrace!

BCHparent's picture

You all may not realize it's NOT the school, the schools do everything they can to help.
It's Chartwell who wants the children going without. You can't give them a little extra either. They would rather you throw it away. Lots of food goes to waste.
As a former Chartwell employee, (I left on my own due to the horrible system) I can tell you this is true first hand. Chartwell does all sorts of things that would upset parents if they only knew.
The "unfortunate misunderstanding" is a comment they use EVERY time they get caught doing something that won't make the company look good. Another one is "I don't recall".
The Chartwell managers are bullies to employees as well. This company is all about money.


"unfortunate misunderstanding"? Really? All they were worrying about was that they were losing money! That child needed food, and she gave it to him. She is a HERO!!! That child could have starved, but she put her job on the line to help him. That school should be ashamed of what it tried to do! "we have the best of children's interests in mind."- it's what they want you to believe. I know that anyone who would stand by and let a child starve, well they must have a gruesome soul! I give a salute to her and a slap to the school. We entrust our children into the school, for them to nurture and take care of, and this is what happens?!?! I am sorry for getting all worked up, but reading this story made me sick and tired of everyone caring about money. We ARE still human beings, right? Well, start acting like one! All children across America- no matter what- are in our care. We need to help them, when no one else will. Would you want your child to sit and starve?

tamlong's picture

Schools would rather throw away the food that is not eaten than give it to a child that is going hungry. The district can't get a tax write off for food give to a hungry child, but can for wasted food. Then we wonder why so many children have problems concentrating in our schools or falling asleep. I say this woman should have been given a raise, and her superior is the one who should have been fired for not noticing the child sooner.

mamaox's picture

The real issue here is that the worker was reenstated because the company didnt want people to know that their policies were that they were out for a buck not out to help a kid, and since the worker was doing her job and looking out for the students welfare which she should be accomodated for instead of reprimanded for. Be serious a cheese sandwich? Kids need a well balanced meal , and being an educational facility its their responsibility to prepare and supply the children with one daily and not a damn cheese sandwich! What happened to being responsible and teaching proper nutrition and making sure each child gets what they need. Give the person whos idea it is to serve those who cannot afford a meal the cheese sandwich for a month or two and see how fast he/she changes that policy! Kudos to the worker for your kind heart and for looking out for the little guy!

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