Lessons Learned From Elderly Village Paleta Vendor Fundraising Story

gfmIt only took seconds for a poignant photo to capture my attention. I am not usually the type of individual who would take some time to read a blog post on my newsfeed, but this one had that certain something that made me feel connected. The picture is worth a thousand words. At first glance, you will see an old man pushing his paletas cart. It is indeed true that you will never know what it feels like to have an emotional connection with someone or something until you experience it yourself. Aside from the fact that the elderly vendor reminded me so much of my father (he died two years ago of lung cancer), he represents a face of poverty.

The old man in the picture is 89-year old Fedencio Sanchez. He was spotted by Joel Cervantes Macias in Little Village, Chicago. It was also Macias who spearheaded the online fundraising for Sanchez. Macias, through GoFundMe, set up the fundraising process. It may seem like another random act of kindness, but there are more important lessons we can learn from this fundraising story.

The Power of Social Media

As of September 15, $352,485 has already been raised for Sanchez by 16,073 donors from 52 countries all over the world. It only took a photo for the campaign to go viral on social media. The story has 109K shares on GoFundMe. The goal was to raise $3,000 but Sanchez received an overwhelming response. Here's how the campaign started:

"As I was driving down 26th st in the Little Village area in Chicago where I was born and raised. I saw this elderly man struggling to push is paleta cart (Popsicle cart). It broke my heart seeing this man that should be enjoying retirement still working at this age. I had to pull over and took this picture. I then bought 20 paletas and gave him a $50 and said may God bless him and drove away. I posted this picture on Fb and since then, I've gotten a huge response. That's when Joe Loera came up with a great idea to start this campaign. Mr. Fedencio Sanchez and his wife recently lost their only daughter and are still heartbroken about the situation. His elderly wife was selling paletas also to help pay bills, but she fell ill and can't work anymore. We're trying to raise money to help him with whatever we can. Anything helps. Let's all pitch in and help make life a little easier and brighten both of their day." (source:https://www.gofundme.com/2am4q7kk?ssid=738031601&pos=1)

There can be hundreds or even thousands of people who have similar stories, and are just waiting for another stranger to extend help. Fedencio Sanchez represents them. In this fundraising story, the power of sharing can make a great difference. Macias went out of his way to get all the help that Sanchez needs and until now, donations just keep pouring in.

Melissa Anderson

Written by : Melissa Anderson

Melissa first started fundraising when her daughters' pre-school needed some sun shades. Since then, she's gone on to become somewhat of  fundraising ideas expert, as well as a super-Mum. Melissa loves sharing ideas about how to raise funds, and welcomes your questions on this blog.

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