Teen Boy Begs For Food At Kroger, Has No Idea His Life Is About To Change

Teen Boy Begs For Food At Kroger, Has No Idea His Life Is About To Change

A Normal Day

Kroger

Going to the grocery store is something that almost everybody does on a weekly basis. You probably have the same store that you go to each time, maybe getting to know the employees and having conversations each time you go. Most of the time it's business as usual, but if you're Matt White, a trip to the grocery store will completely change how you view life, your circumstances, and the people around you. And it all started with a simple trip to the store.

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Dimes To Donuts

Facebook / Matt White

Matt White was at a Kroger store in an upper-class part of a generally poor area in Memphis one night when 16-year-old Chauncy Jones approached him. Before the boy could even get all the words out of his mouth, White was taken aback by the look on his face — a mixture of shame and defeat. Jones had taken the bus to the “rich people’s Kroger,” as he referred to it, in hopes of working for food since he had none. He only an hour to do it before he had to catch the bus back to his house, where he lived alone with his mother.

Taking A Chance

EUR Web

The teen asked White if he could carry his groceries out to his car for him in exchange for a pack of glazed donuts. “He looked ashamed, hungry, and broken,” White would recall. So, he immediately said that he would get him some donuts, but he wanted to do something else, too. There was just something about this kid that was pulling at White's heartstrings. And as they both would find out, this was only the beginning.

Taking To Facebook

Local Memphis

“I just met the most inspiring person ever," White would later write on a now-viral Facebook post. "His name is Chauncy Jones. He’s a 16-year-old from Memphis. 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 looked ashamed, hungry, and broken. In my heart, I screamed a loud 'yes!', But to him, I just chuckled and said, 'yeah dude, we’ll get you some donuts.'”

More Than Just Dessert

YouTube / Chauncey’s Chance

When White found out that Jones had nothing to eat at home, he decided to go on a shopping spree. “We got cereal and chips and frozen veggies, pizzas, Cheetos, melons, pasta, peanut butter, milk, soap, toothbrushes, just a little bit of everything. 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." As he heard more of his story, he continued to be amazed.

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Big Dreams

YouTube/ Teresa Dickerson

“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. I was in awe,” White wrote. Jones said that his bus would be coming soon, and started to head towards his stop. But White didn't want him to ride the bus again, so he offered to take him home and deliver the groceries. What he saw next broke his heart.

An Empty Cupboard

Facebook / Matt White

“I gave him a ride home so that he didn’t have to take the bus and when we got to his house I was truly humbled," he wrote. "He wasn’t kidding. He and his mom had nothing. 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."

Meeting Mom

YouTube/ Teresa Dickerson

White was particularly taken aback by Jones’s mother, Barbara, who was “so sweet but very fragile.” She has a condition that makes it difficult for her to walk, and she shakes. The love the boy and his mother feel for one another was obvious, and White felt like there had to be something more that he could do. While he had already done so much — the food and supplies would help them out for a couple of weeks — the singer/songwriter still felt a pull to do more.

A Glimmer Of Hope

YouTube/ Teresa Dickerson

“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," White wrote. "He looked like a kid again. As I was leaving, I gave him a hug and told him how much God loved him and that he was going to grow up to be an incredible man. I’ll never forget that hug. It meant more to me than any possession I have. Our God is an awesome God, and we can never be thankful enough for the blessings we have.” But that wasn't the end.

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Taking Action

Local Memphis

“I found out they’d been living like this for years, getting by on Barbara’s disability checks,” White said, “and I just knew I had to do something. Chauncy hadn’t had new clothes in three years. I’m not wealthy, but I live a comfortable life. I saw how he was living and it touched my heart.” So he took to his Facebook page to share the story, not to brag about his charity, but to see if anyone else could help out. He hoped to get enough donations to buy Jones a lawnmower to earn some summer cash before returning to high school as a 10th grader in the fall.

An Outpouring Of Support

GoFundMe

The post quickly went viral, with offers of jobs, food, clothing, dental care, and furniture pouring in from complete strangers. The post was shared more than 14,000 times and has more than 3,500 comments. Overwhelmed — in a good way — White set up a GoFundMe account to raise money for a new home for them, along with a college education for Jones. What happened next is more than anyone could have predicted.

Count Your Blessings

People

That GoFundMe page? It has raised more than $340,000 for Jones and his mother, a mother who has been on disability after years of raising her seven adopted children despite a multitude of health problems like blood clots, high blood pressure, and diabetes. “I did the best I could,” Barbara said. “The past few years, Chauncy has been taking care of me. He’s a good boy. I couldn’t ask for better.” And now their lives were about to change.

A New Start

GoFund Me

All of this launched into something even greater, which White called the “Chauncy’s Chance” movement. “As of today, Barbara and Chauncy have a new life. God has provided for them a home, a car, a new school, he has restored Barbara’s health, and continues to present them with endless opportunities for the future,” White explained in a GoFundMe update. "Every dollar donated to Chauncy’s Chance was put into a protected trust that will provide them a secure future for decades. In every sense of the word, God has provided.”

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Just The Beginning

Facebook / Matt White

Just as Jones and his mother now have a new lease on life, White wants to encourage others to "look for Chauncys out there, look for them and their stories." "I live to fulfill God's heart and God has a heart for the fatherless and for the needy," White said. "The focus of this is not me and what I did, because I really didn't do anything. I just captured a story and put it online, but our community, Memphis, picked up this family and put them on a platform." And what do they think about that?

Not Just Friends, But Family

YouTube/ Teresa Dickerson

“He’s the nicest person I’ve ever met,” Jones said. “Nobody ever cared more than he did.” “He’s family, that’s what he is,” Barbara added. “He’s in our lives forever now. He’s family.” White added that It's so rare that we get an opportunity to affect so much change on one life, and hope people pay it forward. "I think back to how many people poured into my life with their generosity, time, money, encouragement, and it brings me to tears," he said. "The impact that those people had on my life can never be measured. I am so grateful for the lives we share with one another, so grateful for each and every one of God's children. I cannot thank you enough for caring about Chauncy. This is his big chance, and you're making it possible." And to think, every day we're given that chance — if we're willing to take it.

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