Chauncey Jones Black was a 16-year-old looking for a hand up rather than a handout.
Instead of begging for money, he was offering his services in exchange for some food at a Tennessee Kroger.
When he saw Matt White, he asked him if he could help carry his groceries in exchange for a box of doughnuts.
“He looked ashamed, hungry and broken,” White told FOX59.
White was taken aback by the boy’s willingness to work for what he needed.
“He had taken the bus at 9:00 at night to get to the ‘rich people’s Kroger’ on Highland as he called it. He approached me while I was shopping for produce asking if he could help me carry my grocery bags to my car in exchange for buying him a pack of glazed donuts. This kid looked like he had been turned down 100 times,” he wrote on Facebook.
White learned that whatever Chauncey was given to eat that day would be the only thing he and his mother had to eat.
“All the while we talked and he told me how he makes straight A’s in school and is trying to get a job to help his mom pay rent. This kid was amazing. Jones 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,” White said.
When White brought Chauncey and his groceries home, he learned that Chauncey didn’t have any furniture in his home and slept on the floor.
“They didn’t even have beds or furniture. They were sleeping on pads made out of sleeping bags, they had two lamps and nothing in their fridge. Nothing. His mother was so sweet but very fragile. I couldn’t tell what it was, but she had some sort of physical and/ or mental disability that made her shake and made walking difficult. I thought I was going to cry,” White wrote.
“As we unpacked the food into their kitchen, you could see the hope coming back into Chauncy’s eyes. He knew he wasn’t going to be hungry. He looked like a kid again.”
White started a GoFundMe campaign, titled Chauncy’s Chance, for Chauncey that first aimed to get him a lawnmower so that he could eventually start his own landscaping business.
That page ended up raising $341,976 of it’s $345,000 goal.
According to People, the money will go toward a college education, a new home for Chauncy, his mom and her six other children, as well as a lawnmower.
Donations also poured in for other things he needed, like clothing and even CDs. Chauncey was also offered a job by a local lawn care company who said they’d eventually hand the business down to Chauncy.
Chauncy also has interest in aviation and in becoming a restaurateur.
“I want to do it all,” he told PEOPLE, “but most of all, I dream about buying me a restaurant someday so my mom can cook anything she wants. It’ll be a soul food restaurant, and I’m going to make myself a whole bunch of hot wings, yes, ma’am.”
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