Society

Man Donates Money He Made Over 30 Years of Recycling

| by John Freund

A Georgia man has donated to charity $400,000 in savings he collected over a 30-year period from recycling. 

Yahoo! News reports that 86-year-old Johnny Jennings of Ringgold, Georgia, began recycling decades ago as a way to bond with his only child, Brent Jennings. 

"We used to use it as time together," Brent said. "We'd walk roads and pick up cans and sell it and take the money and put it in a savings account. When I bought my first house, I had enough from recycling to make my first down payment on my home."

When Brent left home after high school, neighbors said that Johnny continued the tradition.  "My husband and I were looking into adoption and a friend said [Jennings] was serving on the board of the Georgia Baptist Children's Homes so I called and we struck up a conversation," said family friend Shay Love. "He told me about his recycling program and I told him I would save all the recycling in my office if he wanted to come by and pick it up."

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Neighbors began pitching in and, lo and behold, Johnny amassed a small fortune during his 30-year career recycling -- around $400,000.  

But Johnny did not keep the money for himself.  Instead, he donated it to the Georgia Baptist Children's Homes & Family Ministries, a Christian ministry that provides care for troubled children and families. 

"He went with a member of his church and when they got ready to leave, three little boys grabbed his legs and asked him if he would be their daddy," Brent said. "He said right there, 'I'm going to do what I can as long as I can for the Georgia Baptist Children's Homes.'"

"They've been a mom and dad to thousands of children through the children's home," Brent added. "My dad doesn't see the $400,000. He sees the faces of those kids."

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Dr. Kenneth Z. Thompson, president of the Georgia Baptist Children's Homes & Family Ministries, added praise for a man who did such a selfless act: "Johnny Jennings is one of the most gracious individuals I have ever met. ... I have always admired his quiet, humble spirit, his commitment to helping others and most of all, his love for the children in our care. We are so blessed to have someone of his character dedicated to serving our ministry."

Johnny's generosity only became known after a Facebook post went viral.  Users were quick to comment, with one saying: "True example that in a world full of evil, greed and selfishness, there are still people with heart and compassion. Today's generation should learn from this. My hat's off to you sir."

Another added: "Love it! Such an honorable Man!!"

Johnny is not an online presence and reportedly, only recently acquired a cell phone.  Brent recalled what his father said when he told him the story had gone viral:  "'I wish they would just stop that.'"

"He's a very humble man," Brent said.

Sources: Yahoo! News, ABC 7 Chicago/Facebook / Photo credit: ABC News via Yahoo! News

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