New Jersey woman raises $325,000 for homeless Samaritan

New Jersey woman raises $325,000 for homeless Samaritan

(Reuters) – A homeless man who spent his last $20 on a New Jersey woman whose car ran out of gas has received more than $325,000 in charitable pledges after she started a fund-raising drive to reward him for his generosity.

Kate McClure, 27, launched a page on that had raised $325,420 for the man, Johnny Bobbitt Jr., as of Friday afternoon. The number was rising steadily throughout the day.

Bobbitt describes himself as a 34-year-old former U.S. Marine and paramedic who has been homeless for about a year, according to, the website whose story on the encounter helped spark the fundraising interest.

McClure said on the GoFundMe website she was driving on Interstate 95 one night last month when she ran out of gas. She then met Bobbitt, who had been sitting on the side of the road with a panhandling sign.

He told her go back to her car and lock her doors, McClure said.

“A few minutes later, he comes back with a red gas can. Using his last 20 dollars to make sure I could get home safe,” McClure said on

Bobbitt told BBC Radio on Friday that he considered the side of the road an unsafe place for anyone, especially for a woman by herself.

“She just seemed like she needed help,” Bobbitt said. “The situation I’m in, people help me every day. When I have the chance to help someone else, it’s the right thing to do.”

After the highway incident, McClure went back periodically to check on Bobbitt, bringing warm clothes and some cash. Eventually she and her husband decided to start a formal effort to raise money for rent, a car and other expenses until he can find a job.

The fund has grown by thousands of dollars in recent days as widespread media coverage combined with goodwill surrounding the Thanksgiving holiday appeared to have unleashed a groundswell.

(Reporting by Daniel Trotta; Editing by Tom Brown)

In time of crisis, Venezuelans help the hungry

Mariano Marquez (L), a volunteer of Make The Difference (Haz La Diferencia) charity initiative, gives a cup of soup and an arepa to a homeless woman in a street of Caracas, Venezuela March12, 2017. Picture taken March 12, 2017. REUTERS/Marco Bello

By Andreina Aponte

CARACAS (Reuters) – Their clothes torn and dirty, nine barefoot children yell and applaud as a convoy of cars approaches on a busy street in Venezuela’s capital.

Volunteers emerge handing out soup and clothes to the delight and excitement of the children who have come from a town a couple of hours outside Caracas.

“We started this because we see people every day hunting for food in the trash, not only the homeless but people on their way to work,” said Diego Prada, a 28-year-old entrepreneur who began a charity in December in response to Venezuela’s dire economic crisis.

His ‘Make The Difference’ initiative is one of a plethora of solidarity projects springing up around Venezuela, in the fourth year of a crushing recession that has forced many to skip meals and jostle for scarce subsidized food.

Concerned individuals, businesses, church groups and high-end restaurants have started projects across the country to serve food, donate clothing and help with supplies for struggling hospitals.

Long accustomed to living in one of Latin America’s wealthiest nations, many Venezuelans have been shocked by seeing more and more people trying to salvage food from the trash.

Diego Prada (L), a volunteer of the Make The Difference (Haz La Diferencia) charity initiative, gives a cup of soup and an arepa to a man in a street of Caracas, Venezuela March12, 2017. Picture taken March 12, 2017. REUTERS/Marco Bello

Diego Prada (L), a volunteer of the Make The Difference (Haz La Diferencia) charity initiative, gives a cup of soup and an arepa to a man in a street of Caracas, Venezuela March12, 2017. Picture taken March 12, 2017. REUTERS/Marco Bello

According to a recent study by three Venezuelan universities, 93 percent of the OPEC nation’s residents do not have enough money to buy sufficient food and 74 percent have lost around 18 pounds (8 kg) in the last year alone.

Critics say 18 years of socialist rule, exacerbated by a fall in oil prices, are to blame for Venezuela’s economic collapse. But President Nicolas Maduro says he is the victim of an “economic war” waged by the country’s elite and the U.S. government.

“If the bourgeoisie hide the food, I myself will bring it to your house. National production should go to the people in order to defeat the imperialist war,” Maduro said at an event this month to promote the distribution of subsidized food.

In Caracas, six upscale restaurants and chefs have formed a charity – “Full Stomach, Happy Heart” – that provides food for a geriatric home and a children’s hospital.

They take turns to cook and serve meals there.

“We serve large portions so that the children can share the food with their parents,” said chef and blogger Elisa Bermudez, adding salt to a broth ready for the hospital.

At a nursing home, 55-year-old Maria Ramirez is grateful for the outside help she receives.

“Sometimes we worry that we’re down to our last bag of spaghetti but thankfully in our most critical moments, we always receive a donation.”

(Additional reporting by Maria Ramirez in Puerto Ordaz and Anggy Polanco in San Cristobal.; Editing by Andrew Cawthorne and Tom Brown)

Woman Brings “The Power of Pies” to Charleston Church Targeted by Gunman

A Minnesota woman has taken what she calls “something sweeter than pie” to the Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina, site of a shooting during a Bible study that left 9 people dead: Love.

Rose McGee traveled over 1,000 miles from her home in the Twin Cities area of Minnesota to bring hand made “comfort pies” to the Bible Study that resumed at the historic church after the deadly attack in June.

“As far as I am concerned, it’s the sacred dessert of black culture, a comfort sweet potato pie, which means when you have this, it just soothes the soul,” said McGee.

“I actually was just sitting in my living room watching television as everybody else was and became very frustrated, about everything and decided to get up, went into the kitchen and started making pies.”

McGee, who grew up in Tennessee, said the pies are a recipe handed down through her family beginning with her great-grandmother.

McGee has donated pies to other communities that have faced tragedy over the years and found that the pies could bring healing and promote community.

McGee admitted being a little nervous about sending her pies to the Charleston church.

“I’m really holding my breath and hoping the people of Charleston will like this pie,” said McGee. “Because South Carolina is a place where sweet potato pies are done right.”

“All I can say it’s amazing what happens when people come together,” added McGee.

Oregon Community Rallies to Renovate Elderly Couple’s Home after Teens’ Taunts

Last month, two teenagers taunted a 75-year-old man over the condition of his house.

“Look at this crappy house, they just need to burn it down,” one of the teens said among the degrading comments thrown at the home of Leonard Bullock.

Bullock was sitting on the porch of his home at the time and heard every word.

So did Josh Cyganik, a worker for Union Pacific Railroad who starts his workday across the street from Bullock’s home.

“I saw him put his head down and it was clear he was upset,” Cyganik told “I thought about saying something to the boys, but sometimes anger is better left unsaid and I took a different course of action that ended up paying off more so than if I yelled at them.”

Cyganik spoke to a local hardware store, Tum-A-Lum Lumber, who agreed to donate the paint necessary to make the renovations to Bullock’s home.  The good samaritan then went on Facebook to ask his friends to help him during a workday on July 18th to make a difference in Bullock’s life.

It ended up much more than just a new coat of paint.

A family brought Bullock a new set of patio furniture so he could sit outside his home in comfort.  Starbucks brought six gallons of water and iced tea for the workers.

And then a lumber company showed up unannounced, unloaded new lumber and built Bullock a brand new porch.

“The house is real nice now,” Bullock told ABC News. “It makes me feel good to look at it, especially after what [the teenagers] said.”

“They’re great people. You never know about someone unless you get to know their struggles,” Cyganik told the Union Pacific blog. “Yeah, it was a random act of kindness, but to me it’s more about respect. I was raised to respect the people who came before you, to help others out who don’t have much. Leonard can now sit on his front porch for the rest of his years while feeling good about his home.”

Teen Goes For Swim, Ends Up Rescuing 20 Hikers

Sonny Boiser is your typical 15-year-old who wanted to kick back in the evening and swim at a swimming hole near the Blue Hole hiking trail in Kauai.

The trail is located along the second rainiest spot on Earth, so there is always  plenty of fresh water in the hole to swim.

That’s when Sonny suddenly heard cries for help.

He walked from the trailhead where he parked his car to find 20 hikers stranded on the other side of a stream flooded with raging water.  The stream, which earlier in the day had been so dry the hikers could walk across it, filled after a light rain turned into a downpour.

“We couldn’t cross the river even if we tried to,” Micah Phillips-Lam told the Garden Island newspaper. “When we got there, my friend Will, he tried to swim across and he almost got swept away, so we didn’t try again. It was raining and we were all cold, the whole group of us, and we just waited. We didn’t know what to do, honestly.”

“There was this brown rushing water and giant logs going downstream,” Phillips-Lam added. “We didn’t want to take our chances.”

Boiser took a rope that one of the hikers carried and tied it to the back of his truck as the hikers secured another end to a tree.  Boiser then kept pulling the truck forward to keep the rope taut for the hikers to use to cross.

“It was a crazy experience. We got so lucky,” Phillips-Lam said. “[Boiser is] a really cool kid.”

“I was glad I got there and they didn’t have to spend the night there,” said Boiser, who has his learner’s permit and was driving with his older sister.

Waitress’s Good Deed Leads To Surprise Blessing For Her

A waitress at a New Jersey diner wasn’t expecting anything in return when she did a good deed for a group of firefighters that sat at one of her tables.

Liz Woodward, 24, approached a table to find two firefighters who had just spent the last 24 hours fighting a warehouse fire.

“I had been following the New Brunswick fire on the news,” Woodward told “This was their first meal in over 24 hours; the least I could do was buy it for them for all they do every day.”

Woodward picked up the bill and left this note on the guest check:

“Your breakfast is on me today — Thank you for all that you do; for serving others & for running into the places everyone else runs away from. No matter your role, you are courageous, brave, and strong…what an example you are. Get some rest.”

The firefighters thanked the woman and even posted a photo of the diner on Facebook, encouraging people to eat there.

But the story doesn’t end there.

The firemen found out that Woodward had been on GoFundMe trying to raise enough money to get a wheelchair-accessible van for her father, a quadriplegic.  The firefighters returned to the social media network.

“Turns out, the young lady who gave us a free meal is really the one that could use the help…,” firefighter Tim Young posted.

The firefighters and their friends and family pulled together to raise $67,000…much more than the goal of $17,000.

“This is just one example of how so many people in this world have incredible hearts and they pay it forward so the circle keeps on moving,” Woodward said.

Police See Wheelchair Bound Man Trying To Mow Lawn; Take Over The Job

Three police officers in Kalamazoo, Michigan took a break from enforcing the law this week to mow the lawn.

And no one in the community is complaining about it.

Officer Joe Hutson discovered a man in a wheelchair trying to mow his lawn.  Officer Hutson radioed his partner, officer John Khillah, asking him to bring a second mower and weed trimmer and then took over the mowing job from the wheelchair bound man.

Officer Khillah brought the mower, trimmer and a leaf blower from the nearby Public Safety Station #2 along with Sgt. Ken Skibbe.  The three men then mowed, trimmed and took care of the lawn trimmings for the homeowner.

“We are showing people our officers are committed to a service-oriented style of policing,” Capt. Jim Mallery said in an interview with the Kalamazoo Gazette last month.

The KPD reported the man’s lawn was “manicured to perfection” on the department’s Facebook page.

Officer Buys Diapers, Shoes for Mom of 6 Caught Shoplifting

When Sarah Robinson of Kansas City, Kanasa was caught shoplifting at a Walmart store after running out of diapers for her 2-year-old daughter, she feared going to jail and the loss of her family.

“My heart just dropped. I didn’t know what to say or do. It was horrible. I thought I was going to jail,” said Robinson.

Instead, she ran into an angel wearing a badge.

Officer Mark Engravalle of the Roeland Park Police Department arrived at the Walmart after answering the shoplifting call.  As he spoke to Robinson, the officer noticed that some of her children were not wearing shoes.  It led him to ask about her situation rather than what she was doing inside the store.

“He noticed [what she stole] were necessities like diapers, shoes for the kids, some clothing,” John Demoss, Roeland Park public information officer, told ABC News. “He asked her what the situation was, and she broke down crying.”

Officer Engravalle had to do his job but instead of arresting and taking Robinson to the station, he gave her a citation for misdemeanor threat.  Then he walked back into the Walmart.  He bought diapers, baby wipes and clothes for the children.

“The officer had two children of his own, and he thought of his two kids,” Demoss said. “He thought it was the right thing to do.”

“He couldn’t have been nicer to my girls,” Robinson said. “And then I got a call the next day saying they wanted to help us further and help us get a place to live.”

Two local radio stations then stepped up to raise items for the family.  One station collected over $6,000 in items for the family.

Police Officer Pulls Woman Over, Ends Up Saving Her Life

He thought she was talking on her cell phone in violation of Austin, Texas law.

Instead, he found a woman fighting for her life.

Officer Dustin Clinkscales pulled over the woman and realized something was wrong the moment he reached the driver’s side window.

“Are you ok?  You choking?” you can hear the officer asking on a video recorded from the police cruiser’s dashcam.

The woman was choking on a biscuit and couldn’t breathe.  She passed out the moment Clinkscales opened the door and pulled her out.  The officer kept her from hitting her head on the ground and then performed the Heimlich maneuver until the biscuit popped out.

The woman turned out to be the daughter of an Austin police detective.

“I gave him a hug,” says Detective Damon Dunn.  “She was lucky he was there.”

“Well this will be an example of what officer’s do every day. They step up to the moment, they help save lives. They do the job they need to do whether it is the use of force, or it is saving someone from choking,” says Lt. Robert Hightower, Officer Clinkscales Commander, Austin Police Dept.

“It’s really amazing how quickly he recognized that something was wrong, how quickly he acted and cleared her passageway,” Austin Police Department Commander Michael Eveleth told

Christian Group Delivers On Promise To Haiti

Compassion International has released a report showing that five years after the massive 7.0 magnitude earthquake that devastated Haiti they are on track to fulfill promises made during rebuilding.

The Christian ministry is on track to build 30 new school buildings by spring.  The schools, built with $31.2 million dollars from sponsors and donors, will help get education back on track.

Compassion even created a construction company with engineers from El Salvador to build the 30 schools.  The schools will have the unique feature of being built to withstand strong earthquakes like the 7.0 quake of 2010.

The majority of students in the country receive their education from private church run schools because there is no established public school system in Haiti.

Matthew Moore of Compassion told the Christian Post that the schools were a necessity because without them they could have lost 25,000 children from their programs to improve their lives and prepare them for a better life.