When a kind teacher understood the meaning of a sweet question asked by a child in her class, “When is the lady who puts food in our backpacks coming?” she broke down in tears. Brooke Goins, an Elementary School teacher in Jacksboro, Tennessee, understood what the child’s question meant; this sweet little boy was going to bed hungry each night.
Brooke pooled some money together with her fellow teachers, and together they made sure that this pure-hearted little boy wouldn’t be going to bed hungry each night:
“Today I cried at work. Not because I hate my job, or that it is just too hard (it really is). Today I cried for a child, a child who so innocently talked about food, and the lack of it,” Brooke shared in a post online.
“He asked when the lady who puts food in his backpack was coming. It caught me off guard, because it is our guidance counselor and I wasn’t sure what he needed. I told him I wasn’t sure about this week since it is a short week. He told me he was out of it at home and needed more. Of course I asked what was in the bag that he liked so much. I asked if it was the macaroni bowls or the crackers, he said no. I asked if it was the spaghetti o’s, he laughed and told me no that they didn’t have those. Then it happened… he looked at me and said, ‘those little o’s (as he made a small circle with his hand), we don’t have those at my house, but when I do have them they give me a warm belly and help me sleep.’ I lost it, I cried in front of 20 little people. No kid should ever be hungry, ever.”
“Well here is where it gets even better, I immediately sent a text to my group, these are the people who are teachers. Remember, hearing people say that we spend all of our money in our classrooms? We spend it to make sure our kids have what they need to succeed, and today we bought food. Yep, we put our money together and made sure this sweet baby had some spaghetti o’s!”
“I did not write this for anyone to get praise, nobody did it for the praise. I want people to know teachers are humans, we love your kids and want the very best for them. Some days we get frustrated and feel overwhelmed, but today we did what was best for a child. Will it show on a test score? Nope! Do we care? Nope!”
“Today I’m thankful for all of my people at school, big and little. It takes a village, it really does. It’s a crazy rollercoaster of emotions being a teacher, but today it was worth every tear that fell to see him light up when that bag was put into his backpack! Teachers, keep your heads up YOU ARE making a difference! We are all exhausted, but we push forward each and every day.”
“We are now starting a food pantry for our students. Students will be able to get food whenever needed! If you would like to help, we are accepting food donations as well as hygiene products! 164 Jacksboro Elementary School Road, Jacksboro, TN 37757. You can put attention FOOD PANTRY”
Brooke’s post on Facebook was shared more than 40,000 times, and it made its way into the newsfeed of Jennifer Lopez and her fiancé Alex Rodriguez.
“When we heard about the students and amazing teachers at Jacksboro Elementary in Tennessee, we knew we had to help,” Jennifer Lopez shared. “We heard teachers were helping students bring home food when they didn’t have enough. When we saw this story, it brought tears not just to my eyes, but Alex’s as well!”
The kind couple both came from humble beginnings, born in New York City to Latino immigrant families. Jennifer and Alex were so moved by Brooke’s story that they decided to donate one year’s worth of food supplies to the students at Jacksboro Elementary. Jennifer and Alex donated the food from a frozen food delivery company which they recently launched called Tiller & Hatch, which offers frozen soups, stews and pastas.
“I don’t know if you guys know, but Alex and I are part owners in a company called Tiller & Hatch, and we decided to donate a years worth of of their yummy, healthy meals, for the students and their school’s food pantry. This is why being a business owner, and having actual ownership in companies (not licensing), is so important to me and Alex, especially as Latinos. It’s about showing our community, this is what life can be. You can take charge and take ownership. It allows us to have a say in creating things that make people’s lives better and have partners that share our passion for giving back. Because giving back and being there for others is really what matters most. We are happy to be in business with partners who also believe no child should EVER have to go to sleep hungry. Everyone should have access to delicious, nutritious food. This was my favorite moment of the month and it’s one of the best things we’ve been able to do,” Jennifer Lopez shared.
Jennifer video-called Brooke to let her know that they would be donating to help the kind cause of the teachers.
“We were so moved. Oh my God, we were crying,” Jennifer told Brooke in the video call. “You know, my mom was a teacher, and it was such a moving story that we wanted to help. For the student you wrote about on Facebook, we’re donating a year’s worth of meals for him and his family.”