When a Tennessee teacher took to Facebook earlier this month to share a heartbreaking story about helping feed a student who would have otherwise gone hungry at home, the post went viral. Eventually, it caught the eyes of two celebrities who, touched by the story, were inspired to lend a helping hand. Those celebrities? That'd be Jennifer Lopez and Alex Rodriguez who gave an elementary school a year's worth of food after hearing that teachers and staff were purchasing food for students in need to take home.
"When we heard about the students and amazing teachers at Jacksboro Elementary in Tennessee, we knew we had to help," Lopez wrote Wednesday in an Instagram post. "When we saw this story, it brought tears not just to my eyes, but Alex's as well!"
In an emotional post shared to Facebook earlier in the month, Jacksboro Elementary teacher Brooke Goins revealed that she'd been brought to tears while at work by a student who'd "so innocently" talked about not having enough to eat at home. "He asked when the lady that puts food in his backpack was coming," Goins wrote, noting that the school's guidance counselor regularly donated food to the child. "I told him I wasn’t sure about this week since it is a short week. He told me he was out of [food] at home and needed more." Goins said she immediately texted a group of colleagues about the situation and together they pooled enough money to purchase the child multiple days' worth of meals and snacks.
To help continue feeding the child in Goins' story as well as any child in need at Jacksboro Elementary, Lopez said she and Rodriguez had decided to donate a year's worth of "yummy, healthy meals" from Tiller & Hatch to a food pantry the elementary school recently started for students. Lopez and Rodriguez are both part owners in Tiller & Hatch, a a brand of frozen, easy to cook pressure cooker meals.
"We are happy to be in business with partners who also believe no child should EVER have to go to sleep hungry," Lopez said. "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."
A video posted to Lopez's Instagram showed the couple video-chatting with Goins and her students as Tiller & Hatch meals are delivered. At one point, Lopez revealed that her mother, Guadalupe Rodríguez, had also been a teacher. "It was such a moving story to us that we wanted to help," Lopez can be heard telling Goins in the video.
On Instagram, Lopez explained that being able to use their resources to help others "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," she continued. "You can take charge and take ownership ... Because giving back and being there for others is really what matters most."
But Lopez and Rodriguez are reportedly not the only folks who were inspired to help after reading Goins' post. On Wednesday, Jacksboro Elementary shared Lopez's video and thanked everyone who had donated to the school's students. "We are touched beyond words at JES. We never imagined that a simple Facebook post could reach so many people, not only throughout the country, but across the world," the school wrote in a post on its Facebook page. "To those that have supported our school and community, whether it be through donations or volunteering, you have touched our hearts. For all you have done for our students, we will forever be grateful."