Jessica Pittman had seen 80-year-old Kenneth Smith and his wife selling bags of kindling every day for hours since 2015.
Kindling is not exactly firewood, but instead, small, easily-combustible pieces of wood used to help start fires. Since Pittman’s wife Helen had been diagnosed with cancer, the couple started selling the kindling as a means to help pay the medical bills for her treatment.
But when Pittman saw Smith selling the wood alone, she knew something was wrong. Smith’s wife had lost her battle with cancer, but Kenneth was still out there, trying to raise enough money to pay the medical bills.
As Pittman watched him, she noticed the widower removed his hat at a stranger’s funeral procession passed by and it truly touched her heart.
In that instance, she knew she had to do something to help him. Pittman wrote on Facebook: “I was stopped at the stop sign as the funeral passed. That’s when I snapped the picture of him standing there with his hat over his heart. I already had so much respect for Mr. Smith but this just moved me. I was brought to tears.”
She shared Kenneth’s story in hopes it would inspire neighbors to help him. Luckily, Pittman’s Facebook post reached not only their community of Gulfport, Mississippi but multiple news outlets as well.
A GoFundMe fundraising page was even set up for Kenneth by his son and out of a $60,000 goal, the family raised $103,938 and counting for the grieving widower.
Pittman noted on Facebook that the credit for the outpouring of love and support for Smith doesn’t belong to her: “I did not do this. God did this.”
Smith told WLOX that he was deeply touched by the generosity of so many people saying, “It makes me think that we live in a good country, and this is part of it.”
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[Featured Image Credit: Facebook/Jessica Pittman]