- Aug 1, 2014
- Reaction score
- Political Leaning
Three weeks ago, 16-year-old Chauncy Black approached Matt White at the Kroger grocery store in Memphis, Tenn., asking if he could help carry White’s bags in exchange for a box of donuts.
“He had me at donuts,” White would later write.
White, a 30-year-old singer-songwriter, asked Black if he had come to store alone. Black said he had, and in fact, he’d trekked across town to make it to the “rich people’s Kroger” in an effort to find someone who could buy him and his mother food.
And so, instead of parting ways at the end of the transaction, Black and White went on a shopping spree, buying “just a little bit of everything”: chips, pizza, vegetables, melons, pasta, toothbrushes, soap, peanut butter. They talked while they shopped, and Black explained how he was trying to help his mother pay the rent. Black also said that, despite his poverty, he was earning straight A’s in school and hoped to someday be wealthy enough to help the poor and needy, just as White was helping him then.
Astonished by Black’s story, White gave the boy a ride home. Walking into his house, White had to hold back tears, as everything Black described was true — and then some: The house had no furniture, except a couple of lamps, a couch and some sleeping bags. The refrigerator was empty. Black’s mother, Barbara, turned out to be his 61-year-old grandmother (he calls her “mom”) who is physically disabled due to diabetes, according to the Commercial Appeal.
The whole experience left White so moved that he posted a long account of it on his Facebook page. To his surprise, the story was shared thousands of times.
Realizing the power and the draw of Black’s story, White decided to set up a GoFundMe page, titled “Chauncy’s Chance,” on which he listed items that Black and his grandmother needed.
“I didn’t think it could happen, but it did. I’m 30 years old, and I have a new hero,” White wrote in the GoFundMe description, before going on to describe his first encounter with Black. He listed the clothing sizes for Black and his grandmother, solicited part-time job offers on Black’s behalf and set up an email address through which donors and readers could contact them. He set the fundraising goal to $250.
It was met within a few hours. White raised it to $500, which was met in just hours as well. In this short time frame, Black also received a lawn mower, an entire bed set, and a window AC unit.
White announced that he was making the GoFundMe campaign public. Since then, the total amount raised has gone up to over $271,000 — more than 10 times what White and Black had received before going public. The campaign page has been shared 9,600 times, and more than 11,000 people have donated.
In their comments on the GoFundMe page, donors have noted how moved and inspired they are by the resilience of Black and his grandmother, and by White’s generosity. Many share White’s religious fervor.
The success of the fundraising has led to some distress for Black and his grandmother. Barbara Black told the Commercial Appeal that previously estranged family members, including Chauncy’s birth mother, have reappeared in their lives to ask for money.
“We’ve had phone calls from them constantly saying, ‘Where y’all at? Send me some money,'” White told the Commercial Appeal. To avoid this unwanted attention., the family has been living in local hotels. In his most recent GoFundMe update, White wrote that he went to Black’s house with a police escort to pick up their belongings.
Despite these disturbances, Black and his grandmother are grateful for the financial boon. Soon, they may have a new house, with furniture donated by local businesses.
“God’s looking over Matt right now, saying, ‘This guy is a hero,'” Black said to the Commercial Appeal.
â€˜I didnâ€™t know this much love could exist in one place': GoFundMe campaign raises $270k for impoverished teen
I'm happy for this kid, I was pretty much in his shoes when I was his age. I hope he uses some of the money to go to college, this could be a huge opportunity for him to change his life for good.