A former substitute teacher who was living in his car received a $27k check from a former student who organized to raise funds to help him out. Jose Villarreal, from Fontana, was working as a substitute teacher in Fontana Unified School District, Southern California. Like many others he was struggling financially and was living in his 1997 Ford Thunderbird LX for decades.
But things got even worse for him as schools around the world were switched to online last year to slow down the spread of COV-19. Villarruel said to the news station “I couldn’t possibly support my family and extended family in Mexico and rent an apartment here at the same time with the income that I can have,”. Steven Nava, a former student of his, said he was seeing “Mr. V” more often in a parking area, living in his car and he was shattered by seeing how a epidemic has left teachers without a job and it was then he decided to help him out.
Steven told the news station, “every day I’d go out to work around 5 a.m. and see him going through his trunk. I just felt the need to do something about it”. On March 6 2021, Steven launched a GoFundMe campaign and surprisingly within a week, the campaign successfully raised more than $27000. Steven in his donation page wrote, ” Mr. V was a great, funny and helpful educator and substitute teacher in the Fontana Unified School District.
He has struggled with getting back on his feet after the epidemic and has been living in his car ever since despite the cruel weather and living conditions. Steven further added, “This fundraiser is to help him out financially and get back to normal life. Any help is appreciated, thank you god bless”. On March 11 2021, Steven gifted ” Mr.V” the raised $27k and it also happened to be his 77th birthday.
Many students visited him to wish him, support him, and encourage him. Villarruel said it was completely unexpected to him, and he is still trying to digest the whole thing. Steven later mentioned to KCBS,” we don’t appreciate these teachers enough, and that’s something that we should be doing”. It’s the teacher who helps so many students to build them as an individual.