ALBUQUERQUE – A New Mexico mother has been packing two lunches for school ever since her son asked her for an extra one for a young boy who had been sitting alone at lunch each day with just a fruit cup.
In an interview with Albuquerque television station KOAT last week, Josette Duran recounted her son's unusual request, thinking that he wanted more food for himself.
"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 said.
Since then, Duran has been sending her son to school with an extra lunch.
The school's principal recently called her into the office after the other little boy's mother found out she had been feeding her son, Duran told KOAT.
"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 said in an emotional Facebook Live video, adding through tears that she couldn't accept the single mom's money.
The volleyball team Duran coaches also raised more than $400 to pay her for the lunches. Instead, Duran took that money straight to the cafeteria.
"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.
She later found out the boy's mother couldn't afford to pay for his lunches because his mother lost her job.
Duran told KOAT she related to the woman's situation.
"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, and we didn't have food," she said.
Duran added that the boy sitting alone at lunchtime now has a new best friend: her son.
"I have friends, and I'm doing better in school, and you have a great son and he's my best friend," she recounted him saying.