Josette Duran of Albuquerque, New Mexico is making headlines for packing an extra lunch for her son’s classmate every day since the beginning of school after her son asked her to. According to KCCI 8 of Des Moines, Iowa, Duran’s son made the request for his classmate after observing the boy sitting alone in the lunch room with nothing but a fruit cup to eat, something Duran later learned was because the classmate’s mother was unemployed.
Duran was called into the office by the principal after the classmate’s mother learned Duran had been feeding her son. As Duran mentioned in her Facebook live post, the mother told her, “I know this isn’t much, but I just got a job, and I know you’ve been feeding my son.” Though Duran refused to accept the mother’s money in return for her acts of generosity, together with some other members of the community, Duran decided to extend the kindness to other hungry students in her son’s school.
The volleyball team that Duran coaches raised over $400 to compensate Duran, but instead of pocketing the money herself, she visited the school’s cafeteria and closed out all the past due accounts of students who owed money, saying of her actions, “So now no one in that school owes any lunch money to anybody and everyone can eat.”
When asked what prompted her to display such charity to someone in need, Duran stated, “This hits home to me because a few years ago, me and my son were homeless. I was living in my car. I was washing him in bathrooms. We didn’t have food.”
According to Feeding America, 13.1 million children lived in food-insecure homes in 2015, a number which undoubtedly only grew this year. Childhood hunger is a serious problem facing American students across the country, as nutritious and plentiful food supplies are critical for kids’ health and development, not to mention their success in school, and when that food is unavailable, children suffer, both physically and academically.
In a world overwhelmed with underfed children and seemingly saturated with cruelty and neglect, kindness can seem hard to come by, which makes Duran’s story one for the ages. Not only did this woman help perfect strangers without question, but she also did so as a person without access to infinite resources. She is one person who, on her own, decided to make a positive impact in a child’s life, ultimately helping numerous children in the process.
May we all take a note from Duran’s book. Random acts of kindness are possible for everyday people. Let’s honor Duran, her son, and the children whose lives she changed for the better by paying it forward.