At the start of the school year, Josette Duran's son asked her to pack a second lunch for him to take to school each day. She initially thought her son was just extra hungry. But when she learned why he really wanted that second lunch, she generously complied.
In an interview with New Mexico television station KOAT, Duran explained her son's response when she asked him if he needed more lunch because he was hungry.
"He said, ‘No mom, it’s for this little boy at school and he sits by himself and all he eats is a fruit cup,'" Duran told the station.
Duran agreed to her son's request, and since the beginning of the school year, she has been quietly sending two lunches to school for her son to share. She would have continued doing just that indefinitely, but word got out about her good deed — and then the boy's mother found out that another mother had been feeding her son all year.
The school's principal called Duran into the office to meet with the other boy's mother. In a Facebook Live video, Duran told of their emotional encounter:
"She says, um, ‘I know this isn’t much, but I just got a job and I know you’ve been feeding my son,'" Duran explained. Through her tears, Duran said she couldn't accept the single mom's money. She felt a strong connection with the woman who had been out of work and unable to pay for her son's lunch.
"This hits home to me because a few years ago, me and my son were homeless," Duran admitted. "I was living in my car, I was washing him in bathrooms, and we didn’t have food."
The volleyball team Duran coaches also raised more than $400 to pay her back for her generosity. Duran took that money straight to the cafeteria to pay off any outstanding balances for kids who owed lunch money.
"We paid up all the past-due accounts for all the kids that need lunch, right? So now no one in that school owes any lunch money to anybody, and everybody can eat," Duran said.