A Memphis man raised over $300,000 for a struggling teen who tried to provide for himself and his mother by begging for donuts in a grocery store parking lot.
Matt White recounted his encounter with 16-year-old Chauncy Jones over Facebook last June. He wrote how he was approached by Jones in a grocery store parking lot, and how the teen offered to carry White's groceries to the car in exchange for a pack of donuts.
"I asked him if he was by himself and he said that he had come all the way out here with the hopes of someone buying him something to eat because he and his mother had nothing at home," White wrote. "He had no phone, a bus pass, and he was depending on the graces of a stranger to feed him within the hour before the bus left."
White decided to take the teen on a shopping spree, buying Jones and his mother a full cart of groceries. Throughout the shopping experience, the two struck up an unlikely friendship.
"We talked and he told me how he makes straight As in school and is trying to get a job to help his mom pay rent," White recounted. "This kid was amazing. Chauncy kept calling himself poor, but he told me that one day he was gonna be wealthy and own his own businesses so that he could help other people in his neighborhood and buy them groceries like me."
After paying for the groceries, White drove Jones back home and was shocked to see his living conditions. Jones and his mother had no furniture whatsoever and were forced to sleep in sleeping bags. Jones' mother seemed to suffer from a type of physical or mental disability, making it difficult for her to walk.
"As we unpacked the food into their kitchen, you could see the hope coming back into Chauncy's eyes," wrote White. "He knew he wasn't going to be hungry. He looked like a kid again."
White's post about his encounter with Jones quickly went viral, giving White the idea to create a GoFundMe to raise money for the struggling teen and his mother. The initial post only asked for $250 so Jones could buy a lawnmower to try and make money gardening around his neighborhood.
In a matter of months, White's campaign raised over $300,000. The money will be used to save up for a college education and to buy a new house for the Jones and his mother.
"Words can’t express my gratitude -- I’m pinching myself," Jones' mother Barbara told People. "I thought nobody cared anymore. But I see now that they do."
Barbara revealed that she lived on disability to raise her seven adopted children. She suffers from a number of health problems -- including blood clots and diabetes -- making it hard for her to work.
She and her son are incredibly grateful to White, saying that his kindness will never be forgotten.
"He’s family, that’s what he is," said Barbara. "He’s in our lives forever now. He’s family."