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He set out to raise $250 to help this hungry teen. What happened next has inspired thousands

Posted July 4

Little did one man know that a chance encounter with a teenager at a local grocery store would end up leading to "one of the most cherished experiences" of his life — one that has left him and thousands of others profoundly inspired.

Matt White, 30, recently met 16-year-old Chauncy Jones Black at a Kroger store in Tennessee when Black approached and offered to take White's groceries to his car in exchange for White buying him "some glazed doughnuts."

The teen was hungry and was hoping to meet someone who could help him out at the store that day, later saying that he felt compelled to visit that specific location.

"Something told me to go to Kroger," Black told WMC-TV of his reason for being there that day. "God told me to go to Kroger."

And after assessing the fascinating and inspirational details of the story, some readers might fully embrace that explanation. After all, what started as a simple exchange between strangers ended up growing into something else entirely.

White, who later described the teen in a Facebook post as "the most inspiring person ever," took Black up on his offer, but rather than simply purchasing some doughnuts, he bought the young man an entire cart of groceries — and the two got to know one another in the process.

"What followed was perhaps one of the most cherished experiences of my life," White wrote of the encounter on a recently launched GoFundMe page. "That night, in a fun-filled shopping spree together, I was able to share in Chauncy's life, learn his story, and for at least one night, help him with his struggle."

He explained that Black lives with his disabled grandmother and that the two have very little money and few resources. Despite wanting to work to help make the bills, the teen doesn't have an I.D. and other resources required for employment.

White is in the process of working with Black to secure employment, and he initially launched a GoFundMe page titled "Chauncy's Chance" to try to raise $250 to help the young man purchase a lawnmower.

What happened next, though, was absolutely astounding, with the crowdfunding campaign bringing in more than $301,000 in just 14 days — something that White never imagined in his "wildest dreams" would happen.

"What so many can take for granted, (Black) wants," White wrote. "He wants food, he wants a bed, he wants to work and he wants a chance."

The effort has led to a scenario in which Black might actually be able to see his future educational expenses be paid for, while helping his grandmother purchase a home for their small family.

"Can you imagine?!" White wrote. "They could go from not being able to pay rent to … home owners!!! All because of the love of strangers."

The GoFundMe page also asks for people to give clothing to both Black and his grandmother as well as other items such as music players and furniture, as White said that the family truly has very few possessions.

And people are responding to those requests as well, as Black has already received an air conditioning unit, a lawn mower, a bed set — and a job offer, according to the Washington Post.

The money raised via crowdfunding will be going into a trust, with Black and his grandmother working with financial advisers in the process.

It's no secret that crowdfunding campaigns frequently yield life-changing results. Just consider the GoFundMe campaign launched last year to help Alice Gray. The little girl suffered a brain aneurysm, with fans stepping in to raise nearly $68,000 to help the family meet expenses.

Other families have also turned to crowdfunding to help their terminally ill children — and many have done so with great success. But these platforms don't merely help kids and families facing various crises; crowdfunding has also been known to help kickstart businesses, as investors pitch in to help support practical ideas.

Read more about building successful crowdfunding campaigns here.

Email: bhallowell@deseretnews.com Twitter: billyhallowell Facebook: facebook.com/billyhallowell

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