$389,290 Check Given to Fidencio Sanchez, Chicago Paleta Vendor, 89, After Fundraising Campaign Ends on GoFundMe
Update - September 24, 2016 - 2:30 p.m. ET: On Wednesday, September 21, Mr. Fidencio Sanchez finally received a check for $384,290 - money that was raised on GoFundMe after thousands of people donated for the purpose of supporting the 89-year-old and his wife and their cause to retire.
It was closure to the almost two weeks that took place since the photo of Mr. Sanchez was first shared on Facebook by passerby Joel Macia Cervantes. The photo of the stooped paletero pushing his popsicle cart proved to touch people's heart and was soon shared multiple times spreading like wildfire. In less than one week it had sparked interest from national and international media.
Upon receiving the check Sanchez shared his gratitude towards the multitude of people that heard his story and decided to contribute to the fund. He also thanked Joel for sharing the photo and opening the Go Fund Me account. He finally thanked God. "I'll never forget this, thank you everyone for supporting and most of all I would like to thank God," were the words of the Chicago resident.
Sanchez and his wife will finally be able to retire after 23-years of selling popsicles in the streets of Chicago. He had actually retired before but after his daughter passed away last year he had no choice but to return to his business.
A "thank you" party was held on Friday, September 23rd to express the gratitude to all those people who participated in the fundraiser campaign. Let's hope Mr. Sanchez can now continue his life with more comfort.
Update - September 16, 2016 - 10:26 a.m. ET: As of today the campaign has raised $369,236 with more than 16,000 people participating.
The life of "paleta" vendor, Fidencio Sanchez, took a sharp turn when a photo of the 89-year-old man selling popsicles in the streets of Chicago was posted on Facebook last week.
The man in charge of posting the photo, Joel Cervantes Macias, was driving by when he noticed the elderly and stooped man struggling to push his popsicle cart down the street. The scene prompted Macias to step out and snap a picture of Sanchez. Moved in his heart, Macias bought 20 popsicles and later shared the photo on his Facebook timeline with the following caption: "I respect this man to the fullest! #workflow #dyingbreed #mexicano #migente".
Little did Macias know that his photo would not only go viral but would touch the heart of many people which in return drew the attention of several media companies who ultimately reported and shared Mr. Sanchez's story.
Soonafter the photo and story spread, a Go Fund Me Page was launched with the goal of gathering $3,000 initially. However, as of Monday evening, just three days after the page was up, it had raised more than $200,000 by strangers chipping in. In total, close to 10,000 people have made donations with donations as large as $2,000.
Story of Fidencio Sanchez
Macias was also in charge of launching the Go Fund Me Page after getting the idea from Joe Loera, and according to Macias (who is now emerging as the good samaritan figure in this heart-touching story) Mr. Fidencio Sanchez and wife recently lost their only daughter and were still heartbroken about the situation.
This was the story Macias posted on the Go Fund Me Page:
"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.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."
Sanchez has been pushing the cart now for 23 years and with the money raised, it may be a good time for him to retire and spend his days taking it easy.
Macias on the other hand will be releasing the funds later this week. In an updated post on the Go Fund Me Page, the Chicago native but now Wisconsin resident wrote the following:
"Just so people know. We are not dispersing the funds till later in the week. We will let everyone know. We are leaving it up for a few more days because people still seem to be donating. The Sanchez family really appreciates all the love and support that they are receiving from people from all around the world. Joe Loera and myself appreciate all the kind words that we are receiving. It was all a team effort. I'm really trying to respond to every single kind message that I am receiving in my inbox and on Facebook. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. Thank you to all the people who tag me and have nice things to say. I wish I can respond to every single one of you. I'm trying. Lol! GOD IS GOOD."
Several media outlets have shared the story and in this embed, we can see Macias and the other outlets covering the story from where Mr. Sanchez normally starts his day.
If you are interested in supporting Mr. Sanchez and wife, visit the Go Fund Me Page by clicking here.
This is Joel Cervantes Macias: