Community Raises $100,000 For 80-Yr-Old Widower Selling Kindling To Pay For Late Wife’s Cancer Treatment.

older man holding kindling in straw hat and overalls by car

We have shared stories before about the amazing ways people have put the fundraising website GoFundMe to good use. There the story of this deserving popsicle vendor who struggled to provide for his orphaned grandchildren, and this story of the blind “can man” whose faith inspired hundreds of people to donate.


Now people are using the popular site to raise money for 80-year-old Kenneth Smith, a widower who sells kindling by the side of the road. And it’s all thanks to a viral Facebook post by a stranger to Kenneth, a woman named Jessica Pittman.

Check out her post below:


If y’all need any kindling wood please come buy from this precious 80 year old elderly man. His name is Kenneth. He parks on the corner of Carl leggett and west Taylor Rd. In Gulfport Right near bayou bluff. He is there every day for hours. Selling for $5 a bag.

Background story: Last year he was there selling as well but he had his sweet little wife Helen with him. He was selling to help pay for his wife’s doctor visits and bills. This year he is alone. He said his wife Helen lost her battle to cancer a few weeks ago and he is still selling to cover pay for her doctor bills.

My heart breaks every time I pass him. He waves at every single car that passes.

Friday I was at the stop sign as a funeral procession was passing by. And he was standing alert with his straw hat over his heart. Precious man. I can’t buy it all!! Anyway… We can all spare $5 to help this sweet man.

After the post went viral, Kenneth’s step-son set up a GoFundMe so all the people who wanted to help Kenneth but couldn’t buy kindling had a way to donate. Kenneth’s son explains on the page that Kenneth and his wife spent all of their life saving on her treatments and medical bills.


Jessica posted a photo of the previously-mentioned moment when she saw Kenneth paying his respects as a funeral passed pay. She commented on the GoFundMe page, saying:

“I already had so much respect for Mr. Smith but this just moved me. I was brought to tears. My 9 year old daughter was with me. She didn’t understand why I had tears. So we had a great conversation about respect. I was honored and thankful to witness it and for it to be a lesson for my daughter.”


The page has already raised over $100,000 thanks to donations from thousands of people.

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