The world has not forgotten the art of philanthropy. A living example in this context was set by two strangers who met while shopping at Kroger.
Matt White was an ordinary music business graduate living his life just the way he wanted. One fine evening, he didn’t know that he would become a savior to people he had never met. Even the hungry stranger he met while shopping was unaware of White’s generous self. A teen as young as sixteen chose not to beg but offer help instead. White had never witnessed innocence like this before. He couldn’t stop himself from going beyond his limits to help the kid.
Matt White became a hero to Chauncey Jones Black and his ailing mother. The then 30-year-old Memphis’ resident, White, took Chauncey out of his hideout and into the world of social media where he was welcomed with open arms.
Grocery Shopping at Kroger’s
A music business graduate living in Memphis had no idea that something that would change his life will be happening to him at a grocery store. Like the usual, Matt White had run out of some ingredients at home, and the nearby Kroger was his ideal store to shop from.
One ordinary evening while walking around the aisles in search of nothing special. He sensed someone’s gaze on him. White shuddered the thought away. But, in a while, he recognized someone looking at him from the corner of his eye.
A mysterious Encounter
Matt White let go of the thought and went around to complete his shopping. He was about to exit the store when a young boy walked towards him. White was confused if he was a beggar and wanted some bucks. He had multiple scenarios in his mind.
He was now waiting for the boy to say some words. The boy finally invaded into White’s personal space. Matt took a closer look at his face. The young boy looked puzzled and in despair. Matt felt as if the boy is feeling ashamed for something he had done or was about to do.
The Hungry Teen
While Matt thought about the kid, he finally heard him forming words. The kid’s words torn his heart. He was hungry and had come to the shop through a bus. He had no idea that this would be a ”rich people’s Kroger.”
The teen said his name was Chauncy Jones Black and that he isn’t here to beg for some bucks. Matt was surprised to know that he didn’t want to make money in return for nothing. He was ashamed, hungry, and broken, yet he was offering to work in order to gain money rightly.
Desperate To Work
The teen asked Matt if he could work for him. He would do anything to get some money to buy food. He offered to carry White’s groceries to his car. He asked if he could get one pack of glazed doughnuts for the services he’s offering.
White recalled later, ” In my heart, I wanted to scream ’yes’ at the top of my lungs. I was deeply impressed, but I managed to chuckle and said ’yeah, sure we’ll buy you some doughnuts’”. White had already decided that he wasn’t going to just give him some doughnuts.
White Agreed To Help
Matt agreed to let Chauncy help him so he could get him something to eat. This way, he won’t destroy his self-esteem either. Matt wanted to know more about the young kid. He asked about his whereabouts, his parents, his school life.
Matt felt bad when Chauncy told how he and his mother have been pinching pennies all their lives. Black told that he lives with his mother, and together they have very little to accommodate their lives. He said that right then their house was empty and there was nothing left to eat.
No Source of Communication
Matt asked if he would like to call his mother to which Black told him they don’t have a cell phone to communicate. Matt felt terrible for Black and his family. He only had a bus pass to travel on. His bag on his back had nothing except the only clothes he owned.
Matt couldn’t imagine that people like Black are living in his own city. People who are surviving hand to mouth only. They had entered the aisle where doughnuts were being served. Black didn’t know it yet, but he was in for a surprise.
White Couldn’t Help but do More
Black got himself a pack of doughnuts. White’s heart wrenched at the sight of Black smiling while picking out his favorites. Matt White decided right there that he had to do more for Chauncy Black.
This young boy has nothing at his home. He’s hungry but looks for work instead of begging or stealing. “ Will I let him go home with just some sugary doughnuts?”- Matt thought to himself.
Black was Special
If we go into the technicalities, it was never Matt’s obligation to feed Chauncy. But, he felt like he should do it. Maybe because the kid is special or maybe he has a pure heart which made Matt want to do more for him.
Matt couldn’t help himself anymore. He decided if he’s going to help Black, then it better be a complete package. Something about Chauncey Jones Black had made Matt White feel the need to help him more.
Shopping Spree for the Young Boy
Sooner, Chauncey realized what Matt had in his mind. With the pack of doughnuts in his hands, he followed Matt thinking if the cash counter was near. But, he wasn’t leading him to the cash counter. Matt took Chauncey from aisle to aisle, initiating a shopping spree for the young boy.
Black couldn’t believe it. He had never wished for this neither had he asked for this. Matt was helping him out of his own will. Matt was buying him common household goods. Chauncey couldn’t wait to get home and surprise his mother with all this.
The Necessities of Life
Matt bought cereals, fruits, pasta, jams, milk, soap, toothbrushes, and whatever comes in as a necessity of life. Black was happy and surprised at the same time. It was not so easy to believe that he had become friends with such a generous person.
Throughout their shopping, the two talked about each other. Matt learned many things about his new friend that made his heart warm. He asked him about his personal life and school grades. He was shocked to hear Chauncy’s reply.
An Ideal Student
Chauncey was great at school. In Matt’s own words, ” While we talked, he told me how he gets straight As at school. He told me that he has been trying to get a job to help his mom pay rent.”
Matt loved how, even in such a state, Chauncy Jones Black didn’t let go of his passion. The cycle of poverty couldn’t stop him from achieving big. He had set ambitious goals for himself. Black was young and full of surprises.
Poverty-stricken Chauncy Still Aimed High
Chauncy considered himself poor, yet his conversation with White showed his level of ambitions. He did not let poverty restrain him from aiming high. White recalled that even though he was poor Black had possibly said the most inspiring things Matt had ever heard in his life.
Chauncy wanted to become rich one day. He wanted to help the ones in his neighborhood. Just like what White had done for him, he wanted to do for others. It included buying groceries, especially. White was adamant now, he could sense that he was going to meet him again all because of the attachment to this young boy.
Will They Ever Meet Again?
Once the shopping was done. Matt White paid for the groceries. Black could not help but thank him for what he had done for him. It was now his time to leave. His bus would be arriving any minute then. He looked at White one last time with grace and gratitude in his eyes. He had found a hero in an encounter at a shopping market. He would always remember Matt White and his generosity.
As White watched Chauncey leave towards his bus stop, his mind began to race. Will they ever meet again? What will happen if their groceries end soon? The packets he has bought for the kid will take only a month to end. Who will help him then? White decided he is not letting his friend go on on a bus. He offered to drive him home, unknown to the fact that what he will see next would be much harder to handle.
The State of Poverty Was Real
Matt gave him a ride back home so he would not have to wait for the bus. ‘’ I was truly humbled to see the state of their house’’ Matt had written later. He could not believe his eyes for the residence was in an extreme state of poverty. Chauncey was not exaggerating even a little. He and his mother had nothing in their home.
The barren Black household gave Matt more reasons to never forget about Chauncy. The young lad and his mother had been sleeping on pads made out of sleeping bags for God know how long. They had nothing in their refrigerator and only two lamps to lighten the place at night.
Chauncy’s Sick Mother
Barbara Black, Chauncy’s mother, was another character that took Matt aback. She was sick, yet she was sweet and gracious to their savior. She was genuinely happy for Matt helping her son. Matt noticed that the woman was fragile and in a painful condition.
Matt assumed that Barbara has a hard condition – something that does not let her move around freely. She shakes every time he moves. Matt also noticed that spark she had for her only son, Chauncy. She felt sorry that her son had to live in this state. All this made Matt realized that that entire he had done till now is still not enough for the young boy and his sick mother.
The Fridge Was full at the Black Household
It was due to Matt that the fridge at their house was filled after a long time. While Matt thought what more he can do for this family, he and Chauncy unpacked the groceries. Chauncy, on the other hand, looked like an excited young boy who could not wait to eat the things they just bought.
The fridge was full, and the time to say goodbye was near. Matt hugged both Chauncy and Barbara in the hope that he would see them again. The two of them had no idea what Matt was up to.
White Couldn’t Stop Overthinking
For days it was hard for Matt to take the Black family out of his head. Since he had left their house, he kept thinking of ways to help them. Firstly, he did some research on them. It was found that the two had been living like this for over the years. The only compensation was Barbara’s disability checks.
Matt felt disturbed to know that Chauncy had not bought any new clothes for three years. A high schooler was surviving on the only clothes that he would stuff in his bag. Matt had enough by then. He wanted to make a real difference for the Black family.
Facebook Came to Help
What Matt owned was a comfortable living for him only. He did not have enough money to donate to the Black family. With a lot of brainstorming and thinking, Matt came up with a solution to use social media.
Matt used his facebook connections to share his encounter at the Kroger. He posted about Chauncy in the hope that the young kid would inspire others just the way he had inspired Matt. It turns out that the boy is a true charmer.
Getting Viral on Facebook
The internet world did not prove Matt wrong in hoping that his Facebook post would reach a greater audience. He later came up with an idea to start a GoFundMe for the Black family. He attached the link to his post so that people across the world can donate for Chauncy’s family. He added Chauncy’s clothing sizes to the GoFundMe page as well.
He also posted a video where he interviewed Black. Both of them described their experience at the grocery store. Anybody who watched the video could not help but awe at the ambitious Chauncy. Many people resonated with his story to their own, and it proved helpful for their financial assistance.
White Had Come With a Plan
Eventually, White’s facebook post and their GoFundMe account begin to receive more traffic and money, respectively. No one had an idea what Matt was planning to do with the money he was raising for the Black family. But, he had the most effective plan to use the money for the betterment of the Black family.
Matt had a bigger goal in his mind. He wanted to buy a lawnmower for Chauncy so that he could earn some summer cash before starting his next grade at school. What happened next is proof that greater help comes to those who initiate a virtuous act on their own.
Big Surprise for Mr. White
Matt was not expecting it, but soon the GoFundMe account went viral. The donations begin to pour in from total strangers around the world. Not just money, people were offering food, clothing, job offers, and even dental care assistance. Compared to current times, having 14,000 shares and 3,500+ comments at that time were nothing short of being great.
White’s bar was now set up much higher. He was not going to settle for just a lawnmower when he could raise enough money to buy a black family a proper new home. He was now waiting for the donations to be completed in order to seize the opportunity for Chauncy Black.
Everybody Was a Fan of Chauncy Black
The facebook stats were marvelous but so were the amount on GoFundMe account. Matt had been able to collect more than $340,000 for Barabara Black and her son. It was now time to go big. The black family no longer needed assistance from Barbara’s disability checks.
Barbara had become quite emotional on time like this. She recalled how she and her son had rough days. She said, ‘’ Chauncy has been taking good care of me. I did the best I could for both of us, but he’s a good boy, and I couldn’t ask for anything better’’.
Chauncy Got a Chance
It was not just a facebook post anymore; Chauncy Jones Black had become a movement named Chauncy’s Chance. The media started to cover Chauncy’s story. ABC, Daily Mail and other media outlets like PEOPLE made Chauncy a star.
People on the streets begin to point him out as if he was a celebrity. The same was happening with Matt White. Black gave interviews to many magazines where he said that his life has completely changed. ‘’ I cannot go anywhere without people recognizing me, and then they are like ‘Oh, my God, you’re Chauncy?’ and I’m like ‘yeah?’ I am very grateful to everyone.”
Attention isn’t Positive for Everyone
This publicity put Chauncy Black into the spotlight. The Black family had now become cautious. They had earned a quarter of a million dollars overnight. Owing to such big bucks and living in an underdeveloped area of Memphis is not a small deal to ignore.
People who had not been paying attention to Chauncy and her mother came out as they owe them something. “My relatives were like when you get some money can you help me, asking for help in business and all that kind of stuff,” Chauncy recalled later.
Black’s Plan to Handle the Money
It was a lifetime experience that the Black family was going to have for the first time. Owning 350,420 dollars all at once had put them in a weird dilemma. They had no idea how they will use it. In such situations, professionals are asked to assist the recipients in order to find the best way to spend the money, so it lasts longer. Also, Chauncy had Matt, his big brother helping him at every step.
Matt had an idea that they would get in this situation. He and the Black family contacted an attorney about handling the money. Their goal was to save it for longer use and take the least hit of the taxes. This was done to ensure trust and not attain a risk of anybody claiming the money as theirs.
Matt was the Brother Chauncy Never Had
Everyone asked why Matt remained until the end with them. What was his take in the scene? It turned out that Matt White isn’t just a musician but a practicing Christian. Matt White’s faith helped him to assist the Black family until the very end.
Christianity instructs its followers in the power of helping others and being humble about it. Matt never took credits for himself after doing what he did for the black family. He remained thankful to God for choosing him to be the source of assistance to Chauncy. To him, it was the higher power to make him stand affirmed while helping the Blacks.
Look out for Other Chauncys Around You
White also gave a message that the passion for helping others must go on. Chauncy was lucky enough to find his chance, but many are still waiting for their opportunities. Black’s story should not be a source of inspiration only, but it should be the call to action to serve humanity.
In his own words, White said, ‘’ the focus would never be me or what I did because I didn’t do anything. I just captured a story and put it online, but this community of Memphis picked up this family and put them on a platform. Although Chauncy and his mother disagree with this. They give high regard to White and credit him all the time.
Chauncy’s Only Hero; Matt White
Matt White may say that it was the higher power that made him a savior to Chauncy Black, the young boy, and his mother feel grateful to Matt at all costs. They appreciate the musician wherever it’s due. Chauncy and Barbara never get tired of admiring Matt. They only have nice things to say about him.
Barbara calls Matt her family. ‘’He is in our lives forever now- just like a part of this family’’. Chauncy never hesitates to talk about his hero. ‘’ He’s the nicest person I’ve ever met, and nobody but him cared’’. As for Mr. White, he seems to be a savior to many out there.
White’s Love for Children
The black family was not the first to receive help from White. He is a dedicated fellow who knows how to serve humanity at best. A lot of people searched for him on Facebook, and it was found out that he has been directly or indirectly involved in helping children across the states. If he is directly not involved in the act of philanthropy, he is sharing success stories of charity events on his page.
When social media is a platform to promote our selves or our brands, for Matt, I different. He finds solace in charity and serving others. He does what the Bible instructs him to do. It was later found out that White opened a GoFundMe for another person except for Chauncy Jones Black.
Matt White’s Can Man
Matt White’s philanthropic adventures did not come to an end. He once ran into a blind bottle collector who was searching the trash cans in the rougher parts of Memphis. White found his name to be JB Kibbler who was digging trash so he could feed his daughters and 4 granddaughters.
White also set up a GoFundMe for JB Kibbler. He called him ‘’ The Can Man’’. He was 65 years old then and would work from dusk till dawn 7 days a week. The Can Man’s GoFundMe account also reached to great donations. White collected &36,000 so that the old man could take some days off to spend quality time with his daughters.
Memphis and Poverty- How Long will it Take for Serious Actions?
America is a well-developed country, yet Memphis is home to nearly the largest group of poor people. According to a report from the University of Memphis in 2017, poverty-stricken areas in Memphis are on the rise. Sadly, the number of African Americans is much greater than in others.
There are several reasons which are causing excessive poverty in Memphis. Dr. Elena Delavega, an annual report producer, claims that low wages are contributing to the city’s current poverty rate. These numbers are much worse for the Southern part of the city. The part where Chauncy lived before he met White. All this makes Black’s story much more heartwarming.
Effect of Poverty on Children
Dr. Delavega highlighted that the poverty rate among children may surpass 44.7% at the end of the year. While explaining herself, she said that if you see a child walking down a street in any part of Memphis, there is a 50% chance that the kid is deprived of common necessities hence is being affected by poverty.
The problem is huge, and there is only one Matt White. It is clear that solving it would take years and many efforts from more than one person. But it did not stop Matt from making a difference. With technology on our side, everyone can show their efforts.
How to Start a GoFundMe
GoFundMe has been a very productive fundraising online tool. The company only takes 5% of the donations raised through its platform. They also deduct a 2.9% payment processing fee or an additional 30 cents for every donation. What is left of the cash is taken to the person or the cause.
Currently, non-profit organizations and individuals like Matt White are working great through this platform. If there is a need to raise money for a cause or if you want to contribute to a good reason, their website is a great source of help. If it worked for Matt and Chauncy, it might definitely work out for you as well. Maybe someone out there is waiting for you to try it.
Did Anything go Wrong for the Two?
Matt White was not okay with the media backlash he was receiving. Chauncy Black also confirmed that they felt violated at times. They do not regret publishing their story, but the response came out both positive and negative. ‘’Me and Chauncy were not ready for the media attention that was being forced on us’’ Matt White.
As the campaign started to become furious, absurd offers started to come their way. People went a little too harsh at times like someone offered Chauncy to buy his mother’s new teeth. Many local shows wanted them to be a part of their coverage. The Ellen Show contacted them too. All this media attention was a bit overwhelming to both. In addition to this, GoFundMe kept constant contact with Chauncy and Matt.
Their Final Thoughts
Matt- ‘’ this whole experience has shown me that the real strength comes from the love of God for a community. Before the money started to come, it was just me trying to implement change through videos on facebook. All I wanted was to change a young man’s way of living through the kindness of others. My intention was for Chauncy to come to the church with me all in a while of making efforts of his lawn mowing business but God? He had other plans.’’
Matt White continued, ‘’ Chauncy and his mom now have a comfortable home of their own, and most importantly, they have a future they could look out for. It’s best that they want to keep the wave of love that saved them moving onto the next families. This is the most rewarding thing I could ever ask for. All I want everyone that made this possible to know how much.