It was an anonymous gift to help a family in need.

A Metro East School district said a generous donor and his friends wanted to pay some outstanding student lunch bills.

About a week ago, a retired man walked into the business office of the O’Fallon, Illinois, School District #90.

“He was interested in knowing how… many fees there might be that go unpaid, regularly,” said Superintendent Carrie Hruby. “He said he and some of his friends were talking about wanting to pay some of those fees off for some of the families that maybe couldn’t afford to pay those fees themselves.”

Hruby said there are several students that fit that description in the district, which includes 3500 students across seven different schools. With the help of her staff, they identified one family with several students that could use the assistance.

“They were just struggling perhaps more than they normally would,” Hruby said.

The donor insisted he and his friends remain anonymous.

They called themselves “The Lunch Bunch,” Hruby said, and were inspired after reading about similar good deeds on social media.

They donated several hundred dollars to cover the family’s outstanding school lunch bill.

“When the school called the mother to explain what happened, she cried, Hruby said. “And it was really emotional to us to know that… meant so much to her that it brought her to tears.”

Without naming the donors or recipients, the school district posted the story on Facebook this week.

Soon, others began calling the district asking how they could help cover unpaid fees, too. Hruby said one good deed has inspired others to “pay it forward.”

“I knew that it would make our community realize, we have some really incredible people living among us who just want to do something for no other reason than to help someone else out.”