Brooke Goins, a teacher at Jacksboro Elementary School in Jacksboro, Tennessee, did not expect the outpouring of love and support she received when she posted an earnest message about a child in her class suffering from food insecurity. And she certainly didn't expect to receive it from A-list celebrities like Jennifer Lopez and Alex Rodriguez.
On Oct. 2, Goins took to social media to describe a conversation she had with a student who didn't know when his food would be coming from the guidance counselor, since he didn't have any at home.
"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," Groins wrote.
The teacher and mom-of-three then praised her fellow teachers for responding to her call to action to personally help the young boy and his family. According to the post, they pooled funds and purchased Spaghetti-O's, cereal, soup and snacks so he could go to sleep with a full belly. Her story was re-posted over 40,000 times and caught the attention of the recently engaged Lopez and Rodriguez, who, within a few weeks, made a big donation to the school.
On Oct. 23, Lopez posted a video of her and Rodriguez talking to Goins and her classroom on video chat.
"We were so moved. Oh my God, we were crying," Lopez told Goins. "You know, my mom was a teacher, and it was such a moving story that we wanted to help," Lopez said in the video. "For the student you wrote about on Facebook, we're donating a year's worth of meals for him and his family."
Lopez and Rodriguez sourced the donation from the frozen food delivery company they recently launched, called Tiller & Hatch, which sells frozen soups, hearty stews and pastas designed to be quickly heated in a pressure cooker.
“Everyone should have access to delicious, nutritious food,” Lopez shared with Goins. “This was my favorite moment of the month and it’s one of the best things we’ve been able to do.”
The power duo may have a lot of resources now, but they know what it's like to struggle.
Both Lopez and Rodriguez had humble beginnings, born in New York City to Latino immigrant families — Lopez's parents from Puerto Rico and Rodriguez's from the Dominican Republic — and they're proud of their roots.
After the couple toured together with their four kids in a Winnebago, Rodriguez told Hoda Kotb in a September TODAY appearance, "The six of us, Jennifer, the four kids and myself, in a small, little ... that's how I grew up — one bathroom. You hear everything! I love it."