Josette Duran of Albuquerque, New Mexico has been packing her son Dylan an extra lunch for school every day, not knowing that he was secretly giving the extra food away to feed a hungry child at his school.
Duran went on Facebook Live to share the changes that have come over her son's school and community since Dylan's act of kindness.
Duran's son asked her to pack two of everything for his lunch and she complied, thinking he was just hungry. Duran quickly discovered that her son was actually giving the second lunch away.
"No, Mom," Dylan told her, "It's for this little boy at school, and he sits by himself, and all he eats is a fruit cup."
The subject of school lunches has been a sore point this year as a cafeteria worker also used Facebook to reveal that she had been required to take away hot lunches from children whose parents had not paid their balance. The employee claimed she was required to replace the meals with a humiliating alternative; a slice of bread and cheese.
Ms. Duran has a personal relationship with going hungry as just a few years ago, she and her son were homeless and struggling to eat.
“I was living in my car and I was washing him in bathrooms.” Duran says, ”And we didn’t have food.”
People have tried to reimburse Duran for her generosity but her son’s act of charity has inspired her to keep paying it forward. The other child’s mother got a job and offered to give Duran some money, but Duran would not accept it. The volleyball team that Duran coaches raised $400 to pay her back but Duran turned around and used the fund to pay the outstanding balances for every other child’s lunch in the school.
Through tears, Duran confirmed, “Nobody in that school owes any money, and now everyone can eat.”
Inhumanity around school lunches has become all too common from implementing humiliating punishments for children whose parents are behind on payments to serving low-grade meals unfit for human consumption. With the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act instated by the Obama administration and championed by First Lady Michelle Obama, kids are getting healthier food at lunchtime but some children are clearly still falling through the cracks.
Thanks to the compassion of one family of lunchtime heroes, the children at this school won’t go hungry.
Banner image credit: Twitter, @VanFireCharity