Things That Matter

Plot TWIST: Cafeteria Lady Who Allegedly Gave a Free Meal to a Hungry Child Was Actually Giving Him Special Treatment Because He Was ‘Popular’

In a surprising twist to the viral story about the cafeteria lady who was fired for giving a student a free meal, the catering company that serves the Mascoma Valley school district revealed that the student in question had actually not been charged for meals in three months.

On March 28th, Bonnie Kimball was fired from her job as a cafeteria worker because she allegedly gave a student $8 worth of free food when he was low on funds.

According to a report by Union Leader, Bonnie Kimball, the cafeteria lady at the center of the scandal, claimed she had been giving the boy food for free because he was a “popular jock”.

According to Café Services, Inc, it is district policy that “every student in the lunch line gets lunch” and “now that there is a change in staff, this student’s account shows regular activity”, when in the three months previous, the account had showed no transactions. “This employee was dishonest and was let go for not following procedures,” said Brian Stone, President of Fresh Picks Cafe.

The story gained traction and international attention when celebrity chef José Andrés tweeted out his support of Kimball and offered her a job in his charity organization, World Central Kitchen.

At the time, the backlash to Kimball’s termination was so widespread and severe that the school district apologized and offered Kimball her job back.

“It is our goal to do right by our families, community, students and employees,” Superintendent Amanda Isabelle said at the time. “The events of these past few weeks and the feedback I have received from parents has given me considerable pause.”

But as more evidence came to light on the cafeteria worker’s motivations, the situation appears to be more complicated.

According to a statement by Fresh Picks, the catering company under contract with the Mascoma Valley school district, Kimball was initially dishonest about charging the boy as well as the amount of funds in the boy’s account.

“The employee told the manager that she charged the student’s account for the lunch,” said Stone in a recorded statement. “But, the manager later confirmed there were no charges on the account. So, what the employee said was not true.”

Additionally, the mother of the 17-year-old boy says that Kimball has been privately messaging her son on Facebook.

The mother of the 17-year-old male student has revealed to the press that Kimball has been messaging her son on Facebook in order to orchestrate what appears to be a cover-up. According to the message, Kimball told the boy to load money to his card for the next day because she knew her manager would be watching her.

“We will prolly [sic] get written up, but we can make it look good. Lol,” Kimball allegedly wrote to the teen through Facebook messages.

“What kind of an adult says that to a child?,” said the boy’s mother to the Union Leader.

The mother of the 17-year-old student also wanted to clarify the false reports that her child was too poor to afford lunch or was “going hungry”.

“I have three children, and they are all well-cared for and well-fed”, she said. “She did not get fired for feeding a hungry child”.

Trump Administration Hikes Up DACA Renewal Fee To Support U.S. Immigration And Customs Enforcement

Things That Matter

Trump Administration Hikes Up DACA Renewal Fee To Support U.S. Immigration And Customs Enforcement

Juan Escalante @JuanSaaa / Twitter

A new proposal brought forth by immigration officials might hike up the cost of immigrants entering the United States as children. According to a New York Times report, the Trump administration proposal would increase fees for applicants by more than 60 percent and handover more than $200 million to Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

On Friday, the Trump administration proposed increasing a “range of fees” tacked onto applications for those seeking legal immigration and citizenship.

If it is sent into motion, the proposal would increase citizenship fees by more than 60 percent. Under the new plan, fees for applicants would skyrocket from $725  to $1,170. The proposal would also allow the government to charge asylum seekers $50 for applications and $490 for work permits. Such a rule would make the United States one out of four countries in the world to force asylum seekers to pay for applications. Australia, Fiji and Iran all charge for asylum protection. 

If instituted, the proposal would be yet another roadblock implemented by the Trump administration to restrict immigration through legal means.

Over the past few months, immigrants and immigration advocates have seen similar attempts at hacking through the rights of immigrants before. Recently the Trump administration issued a series of policies that work to withhold permanent residency to immigrants in the United States have been deemed incapable of financially supporting themselves. They have also blocked entry to immigrants applying for visas on the basis of health insurance status. On October 4, 2019, Trump published a Presidential Proclamation that prevents entry to visa applicants are unable to provide proof of their ability to obtain health insurance within 30 days of entering the United States. 

“Healthcare providers and taxpayers bear substantial costs in paying for medical expenses incurred by people who lack health insurance or the ability to pay for their healthcare.  Hospitals and other providers often administer care to the uninsured without any hope of receiving reimbursement from them,” the proclamation read. “The costs associated with this care are passed on to the American people in the form of higher taxes, higher premiums, and higher fees for medical services.  In total, uncompensated care costs — the overall measure of unreimbursed services that hospitals give their patients — have exceeded $35 billion in each of the last 10 years.”

 Ur Jaddou, former chief counsel at USCIS under the Obama administration called the new policy, “one more way under the administration that they are making legal immigration unattainable.”

“Currently, USCIS is conducting its biennial fee review, as required under the Chief Financial Officers Act of 1990, to study the agency’s revenue, costs and needs,” a spokesperson for USCIS told BuzzFeed News. “As always, USCIS will publicly communicate information on its fee review through a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) published in the federal register, should a decision be made to adjust its fees. No determination has yet been made.”

Immigration advocates on social media have been quick to slam the proposal as unfair. 

“The proposal to get rid of fee waivers is a whole statement and stand against the poor. From the public charge stuff to this. Worse thing too is this is how people actually feel,” film director Angy Rivera wrote in a thread that lambasted the policy. “The Department of Homeland Security’s plan will be open to public comment for 30 days starting Nov. 14. Make sure to flood them!”

Other users who quick to underline the significance of taking the funds from these applicants and transfer them to  Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

According to The Wall Street Journal, the Trump administration plans to “transfer money raised through the new proposed fee schedule to Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the agency under DHS that carries out deportations, workplace investigations and other immigration enforcement actions. The money would be used to root out any potential fraud in future applications for citizenship, green cards, asylum and other immigration benefits.” 

“At this point I feel like they are just putting numbers in hat, and tossing it around. This is money we use to live and maintain our families, minimum wage ass job won’t cover this. This is just business to make money, y’all taking advantage of us,” Cristal Ruiz Rodriguez wrote in a tweet.

There’s no doubt that the Trump administration’s latest attack on immigrants is a wealth tax.

The Trump administration’s new policy would not be applicable to immigrants crossing the U.S.-Mexico border and asking for asylum. 

Melissa Rodgers is the director of programs for the Immigrant Legal Resource Center and told the Washington Street Journal that the proposed fees would be unaffordable for those who could have had a chance at citizenship.

“This is a wealth tax on becoming a U.S. citizen,” Rodgers said in a statement. “It’s part and parcel of the assault on the naturalization process.”

This Woman Saw Her Former Yale Classmate’s Story Of Becoming Homeless On The News, Then She Swept Into Help

Entertainment

This Woman Saw Her Former Yale Classmate’s Story Of Becoming Homeless On The News, Then She Swept Into Help

@KTLAMorningNews / Twitter

When CNN first reported about Shawn Pleasants, a former Yale graduate with an economics degree and previous experiencing working on Wall Street and in Hollywood, it generated mass sympathy. The Black businessman, who was a high school valedictorian and built a successful career for himself, shocked readers at the news of his decline. Pleasants, who had suffered a series of misfortunes, found himself out on the streets, addicted to methamphetamine and living in a tend in Los Angeles’s Koreatown for the past ten years. 

CNN’s coverage of California’s homeless crisis put a spotlight on Pleasants, a 52-year-old man who had been suffering for years. 

His life, it seems, has turned around thanks to the generosity of a former Yale classmate who saw his story.

Kim Hersmanis a Black attorney who studied at Yale around the same time that Pleasants did, came across the CNN profile and knew she had to help.”I started reading it — and just tears,” Hershman told CNN in a piece about Pleasants that was published today. In her interview with the news organization, Hershman admitted that she had not known Pleasants very well during their time at the Ivy League university. “When we were at Yale in the ’80s, there were very few Black students there,” Hershman told CNN. “Things are very different now. But I know that for whatever he achieved, something changed, and he didn’t have the support that, maybe, I had.”

When Hershman, who lives just miles from Pleasants’ encampment in Koreatown, first read his story she knew she wanted to help.

Hershman reached out to her network of Yale alumni on a Facebook page for former Black Yale students and asked for their advice and support so that she could help Pleasants.   According to CNN, the day after CNN featured their story about Pleasants, Hershman headed to Koreatown to find him with two other Yale alumni and her partner. “I was a little nervous because I was, like, ‘Where am I going? I’m a 5-foot-1 female,'” she told CNN. After asking around, Hershman was told by a homeless person that she could find him “around the corner.  

Wearing a Yale had, Hershman found Pleasants and took a seat beside him on a sidewalk and took his hand.

Pleasants told CNN that he knew who he was as soon as he saw her. “I had seen her, maybe, seven or eight times at school,” he told the news site. After speaking for some time, Hershman asked Pleasants how she could help. “My big thing was: ‘What do you want? And based on what you want, I’m going to do whatever I can to help you,'” she told CNN.

Pleasants told Hershman that his biggest desire was “to make a difference.” 

“I’m in this situation, and there has to be a reason for it all, and I want to help others,” Pleasants told CNN. That day, the two talked about Pleasants’ vision for a homeless resource center. There he hoped that he could help the homeless by offering them access to showers, mailboxes, and charging phones. Hershman told him that she wouldn’t make him processes but would do all she could to help him to get back onto his feet, as long as he went into a drug rehabilitation program. 

 Despite having rejected previous offers from family members in the past, Pleasants agreed under the condition that he could bring his husband  

“When she wants to do something, she does it, by golly. She’s an angel,” Pleasants told CNN. 

Hershman ultimately moved Pleasants into a guest house located on what CNN described as a “posh LA estate.” There, Pleasants has access to pools, basketball and his own kitchen that Hershman stocked with food. Since his move, Pleasants has been checked into a rehab facility in Los Angeles and his husband is scheduled to under go heart surgery.

 Hershman has paid $10,000 for Pleasants rehab stay and has said that she is ready to pay for more if he needs it. She has also helped set Pleastants up with a more permanent housing situation that will use a federally subsidized Section 8 voucher. 

“We’re people with a myriad of different circumstances. There are people from all cultures, countries, age groups and professions,” Pleasants told CNN of the homeless people he knows. “Not everyone can pay $2,000 a month for a studio,” he said. People who used to help homeless residents, he said, ended up sitting beside “us” on the streets. Pleasants also wants to call attention to the lack of facilities just to “clean your clothes.”  Here’s hoping Pleasants and his partner are able to recover fully and develop a new life together. There’s no doubt our world could use more generous people like Hershman.   

H/T: CNN