Have you ever been approached by a stranger in need of help and found yourself hesitating to do so? While this is a perfectly understandable reaction, if you let it win, it may also hold you back from saving a life. Matt White learned this valuable lesson after a chance encounter with a hungry teen in his hometown of Memphis, Tennessee. Little did our unassuming hero realize, but his trip to the grocery store that day was about to set in motion a series of events that would change two people’s lives forever.


One night, while Matt was perusing the aisles of his local grocery store, a teenager approached him with a simple offer. These two strangers didn’t know it at the time, but their chance meeting was fated to bind them into a lifelong connection. Brace yourselves for a heartwarming story about trust, generosity, and kindness that knows no boundaries. Fair warning: you may want to grab yourself some tissues.

An Ordinary Grocery Trip

One night, Matt White was doing his regular business at a Kroger grocery store when something unforeseen happened that would affect his life tremendously. Matt was 30 years old at the time, held a degree in music business, and was operating his own company.


The Kroger store in question was located in an upper-class part of Memphis, and in his countless visits to it, Matt had never experienced anything even remotely bizarre. Having uneventfully selected and paid for his goods, Matt headed for the doors, almost on autopilot. And that was when his night took the strangest of turns.

A Mysterious Teenager

As Matt was making his way out of the store, he noticed an agitated boy appeared to be heading towards him. White was confused by the teen’s body language and wondered what he wanted from him. Was the kid homeless? Why was he alone in the store? Matt continued to observe as the teen approached, thinking up potential scenarios in his head.


Finally, the boy was in front of him. Before White was able to manage any words, he found himself captivated by the sad and embarrassed look on the kid’s face. He couldn’t figure out why, not yet anyway, but the teen had captured his attention in a most peculiar way. Who was this stranger, and what did he want?

Why Did the Kid Approach Matt?

The teenager in front of Matt was Chauncy Jones Black. He had traveled via bus to what he called the “rich people’s Kroger” in the hope of getting some food in exchange for his humble offering.


The 16-year-old was more than willing to work in exchange for food. He was standing before White with nothing and had only one hour left to catch the last bus home, where his mother was waiting for his return. Would White help the hungry boy?

White’s Response

It was obvious that Chauncy Jones Black was hungry. “He looked ashamed, hungry, and broken,” White recalled. The boy asked if Matt could give him any work. He was desperate and prepared to do anything to fill his hungry stomach and have something to take home to his mother.


Black asked White if he could carry his groceries to the car and help him load them into the trunk in exchange for a pack of glazed doughnuts. “In my heart, I screamed a loud ‘yes!’ But to him, I just chuckled and said, ‘yeah dude, we’ll get you some doughnuts,’” White said. As fate would have it, their encounter wouldn’t end with donuts.

Black Didn’t Own a Phone

After hearing Black’s offer, White felt sorry for him. Although he was moved by the kid’s approach, his mind was flooded with thoughts about his identity and the possible cause for his desperate plea. Since he had a bit of time with the kid, White asked him about his personal life…


White learned that Black and his mother were struggling with their daily survival. According to the kid, they owned and earned very little. Black didn’t even have a phone with him. All he had was the bus pass for his travel and the clothes on his back. As they strolled toward the doughnuts section together, Black had no idea that a surprise awaited him.

White Had to Give More

After Black picked out a pack of his requested doughnuts, White felt that he wasn’t giving the kid nearly enough. Knowing the boy and his mother had nothing in their fridge back home, Matt felt it just wouldn’t be fair to send him home with a box of what amounted to little more than sugary bread.


Matt White knew it wasn’t his responsibility to feed someone else’s child but deep in his heart, he felt the urge to help. He couldn’t understand it, but his gut feeling told him that Chauncy Jones Black was a good kid.

The Shopping Spree

As they continued to chat, donuts in hand, Black realized they weren’t heading towards the cash register. White was directing them from one aisle to another, offering what seemed to be a grand shopping spree. Black was stunned to witness this guy who had agreed to buy him a pack of doughnuts picking out more and more goods for him and his mother.


As White started loading the grocery cart with common household goods such as cereals, pasta, fruits, peanut butter, milk, and soap, Black was lost for words. He didn’t expect someone to go above and beyond in such a generous manner. As they kept chatting, White learned something about the teenage boy that touched his heart.

An Inspiring Teenager

As the pair perused the aisles of Kroger, White asked questions about the teenager’s life, his school, and his mother. “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,” White said.


Despite his unstable condition, the youngster didn’t plan on getting stuck below the poverty line. While he was young, he had big goals and was already working hard to reach them. White discovered that Chauncy Jones Black was a kid full of surprises.

Black’s Ambitious Goals

As the conversation continued to flow, Matt noticed that Chauncy Jones Black kept calling himself “poor.” White felt terrible about the teenage boy’s condition but was deeply moved by the inspirational ambitions he had for his life, his family, and the world at large.


Black had been dreaming of becoming a rich business owner someday so that he could help other people in his town. He hoped one day to be able to do kind deeds like what White was doing for him and his mother. Black deeply appreciated White’s act of kindness and generosity. But the story doesn’t end there…

No Goodbyes

After White paid for Black’s groceries, the kid thanked him and told him that it was time for him to go as his bus would be coming anytime soon. He looked at White with a grateful heart and started walking toward his stop. Would this be an emotional goodbye for the two?


As White watched Black heading toward the bus stop, he felt something still wasn’t right. While it was great that he had loaded the kid up with groceries, the bus ride home with all those heavy bags would be a struggle. Feeling that his mission was not yet completed, White offered to drive the kid home. Little did he know he was about to witness something heartbreaking.

‘He Wasn’t Exaggerating’

Matt White recalled, “I gave [Chauncy Jones Black] a ride home so that he didn’t have to take the bus and when we got to his house I was truly humbled.” When they arrived at Black’s house, White realized the teen hadn’t been exaggerating when he described his meager home.


The Black residence in South Memphis was entirely bare. Chauncy and his mother were sleeping on pads made of sleeping bags. Matt’s visit to the household haunted him. “They had two lamps and nothing in their fridge. Nothing,” White said.

Chauncy’s Mother Was Sick

While the stark emptiness of the house was the first thing that gripped his mind, White also noted how the teen’s mother, Barbara, was so sweet and warm. She showed sincere appreciation for what White had done for her Chauncy. She also looked frail and seemed to be in pain.


White quickly came to the conclusion that something was up with Chauncy’s mom, and he was right. Barbara has a condition that makes it difficult for her to get around on her own. The suffering this woman endured was as noticeable to the visiting musician as the love she clearly had for her son. It was around this time that he realized what he had done for Chauncy and Barbara still wasn’t enough.

Stuffing the Refrigerator

Matt White didn’t leave the Black residence immediately as there were groceries to unload. As they unpacked the food and filled the empty fridge, Chauncy became more and more vibrant. “He looked like a kid again,” White explained.


With the fridge and cupboards full, it was time for White to bid goodbye to Chauncy and Barbara. The singer/songwriter gave the mother and son a big hug before leaving their house. However, none of them realized that this was not to be their last meeting.

The Black Family Haunted Matt White

Matt White was haunted by the situation Chauncy and Barbara were living in. He couldn’t get them out of his mind, so he did some research on them and what he discovered saddened him even more. It turned out the Black family had been living in poverty for years, surviving only on Barbara’s disability checks.


Moreover, Chauncy, a high school student, hadn’t had any new clothes bought for him in three years. White racked his brains, wondering what more he could do to make a difference for the small family. He knew that, while generous, stuffing their fridge with food wouldn’t be enough to make a lasting difference.

Taking it to the Next Level

Matt White revealed that he was living a comfortable life when he met Chauncy in Kroger. But he wasn’t wealthy enough to give any substantial financial assistance to the Black family. Thankfully, there are powerful mediums to manage such situations. Well, social media that is.


White used Facebook to share his meeting with Chauncy Jones Black to the world with high hopes that he could enlist more help. He hoped Chauncy’s remarkable attitude would inspire other people the way it had inspired him. As it turns out, White’s post, filled as it was with Chauncy’s charm, elicited an overwhelming response.

The Bolder Step

White was positive that his Facebook post would win the online audience’s attention. He also attached a GoFundMe link so donations could pour into Chauncy’s cause. The GoFundMe profile included details about the young man’s clothing sizes to assist people in making donations. However, the most significant part was to be found at the bottom part of the page.


White uploaded a video interview with Chauncy in which he shared his experience at the grocery shop and offered his services in different jobs. Viewers of the clip were moved by his humble and inspiring story and his desire to work for everything he was given.

The Master Plan

Matt White’s Facebook post touched the hearts of many, but what exactly was his goal for Chauncy Black with the funds that he was raising? Did Matt devise a particular plan on helping Chauncy spend the money as effectively as possible?


While he could’ve just handed the cash over to the Black family to do with what they wished, White had a bigger plan in mind. He hoped to raise enough money to buy the teenage boy a lawnmower, enabling the kid to set up a small business and earn some cash during the summer. What happened next will have you speechless.

The GoFundMe Account Went Viral

As White’s Facebook post continued to get share after share, the GoFundMe account to which it linked also went viral. Aside from the cash donations, strangers started sending job offers, food, clothing, and even dental care. The post was shared around 14,000 times and amassed about 3,500 comments.


Surprised by the positive outcome of his Facebook post and the attached GoFundMe link, White realized he had the capability to raise the bar even higher. Why be content with a lawnmower if he could raise enough cash for a new home for Chauncy and Barbara, along with a college fund for the teen? Matt was certain Chauncy would seize any chance to make his dreams come true.

Overwhelming Love

While the shares and comments on White’s Facebook post were important, it was the GoFundMe account that was bringing in the massive donations. Total strangers were moved by Chauncy Black’s inspiring story and more than $340,000 poured in for him and Barbara. As a single mother who endured multiple health issues and relied on disability checks to raise Chauncy, this wave of generosity was truly overwhelming.


“I did the best I could,” Barbara recalled at the time. “The past few years, Chauncy has been taking care of me. He’s a good boy. I couldn’t ask for better,” she added. While she may never have asked for more, Barbara’s life was about to change drastically.

“Chauncy’s Chance”

Matt White’s Facebook post turned into a movement called “Chauncy’s Chance.” Media outlets such as ABC, Daily Mail, and People started covering Chauncy Jones Black’s story and eventually, people began recognizing him in public as if he were a Hollywood celebrity. It was quite a big change for the humble kid.


“It’s so awesome – my life has been completely changed,” Black said in an interview with People magazine. “I can’t go anywhere now without people recognizing me. They go, ‘Oh my God, you’re Chauncy!’ And I’m like, ‘Yes, ma’am.’ I’m very happy and very grateful to everybody,” he revealed.

Demands from Other People

When more media outlets picked up Chauncy Black’s story, he became a household name and was often being called upon to do interviews. Having earned more than a quarter of a million dollars in barely a month, the family had to be very careful.


The huge sum of money had other people demanding assistance from Chauncy and Barbara. These people hadn’t been in close contact with them before the big changes happened. “My relatives were like when you get some money can you help me, asking for help in business and all that kind of stuff,” Black recalled. Speaking of the big bucks, how was the Black family planning on managing it all?

Managing a Huge Sum of Money

$340,000 is indeed a huge sum of money to receive all at once. For a family who had, just weeks before, been living in poverty, expert assistance was needed to determine the best way to handle the funds to ensure they weren’t squandered.


Realizing this, White helped Chauncy and Barbara enlist the services of a lawyer. Speaking to a local TV station, White explained he did this “so that they take the least amount of hit on taxes. So it’s set up in a trust and not at risk of anybody trying to come and claim it.” Why would White be so concerned when his plan had already been a big success?

White’s Strong Faith

Some people might ask why Matt White was so dedicated to helping a family he had only just met. What was in it for him? It turns out that the musician is also a practicing Christian who believes that his faith leads him to help other people who are in need.


Instead of taking the credit for himself, Matt said he is grateful to God for the mercy and love that has been showered upon the Black family. He believes his meeting with Chauncy and Barbara wasn’t by accident. “In every sense of the word, God has provided,” White said of their encounter. This is why he felt so strongly that his mission wasn’t over yet.

There Are More Chauncys

As Chauncy Black and his mother, Barbara, were given a rare opportunity to change their lives, White persuaded other people to “look for Chauncys out there.” To the singer/songwriter, Chauncy’s story needed to be seen as more than just an inspirational read. Rather, it should be an eye-opener for others, a wakeup call that we need to always be ready to help those who are in need.


“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,” White said of the whole experience. As humble as Matt’s words were, Chauncy and Barbara thought otherwise.

Grateful and Overwhelmed

While White gives credit to a higher power for connecting him with Chauncy Black and Barbara, the teenage boy and his mother couldn’t be more grateful to the musician for his overwhelming love, care, and support. Chauncy and Barbara had only kind words to say about Matt White. They gave him more credit than he would ever dream of giving himself.


“He’s the nicest person I’ve ever met,” Chauncy said when asked to describe White. “Nobody ever cared more than he did.” “He is family, that’s what he is,” Barbara said. “He’s in our lives forever now. He’s family.” Chauncy and Barbara also give credit to everyone who reached out to them and all those who were so generous in donating cash, clothes and other necessary items they’d been doing without.

Not His First Charity Work

As it turns out, Matt White’s effort to help Chauncy and Barbara wasn’t his first foray into the world of charitable work. A browse through his Facebook profile reveals that White has been actively involved in helping families like Chauncy’s in the past. Even when he is not the person behind the good deed, he posts charity success stories on his page to encourage people to keep on giving.


Despite the chaos and selfishness that undeniably exist in this world, social media can serve as a powerful tool for changing the lives of people in need. Matt White finds peace and comfort in doing good unto others, just as the Bible asks him to. In fact, Chauncy Black isn’t the only person for whom he opened up a GoFundMe account.

« The Can Man »

Matt White had previously also launched a GoFundMe page for a blind man who works as a bottle collector. He met the blind man by chance in “one of the rougher parts of Memphis.”. The old bottle collector, named JB Kibbler, was digging through garbage for cans that he could sell in order to provide food for his daughters and granddaughters.


Touched by the man’s plight, White set up a GoFundMe account for the then-65-year-old grandpa with the goal of helping him take a few days of rest to spend some quality time with his family. The “Can Man,” who tirelessly works seven days a week from sunrise until sundown ended up receiving a significant amount of $36,000 in donations. Enough for a break and then some!

The Poverty Situation in Memphis

According to a University of Memphis report, as of 2017, the city was home to America’s largest population of people living below the poverty line. Although poverty rates increased across the board back in 2016, the figures are higher within the African American community.


Dr. Elena Delavega, who makes the report every year, highlighted the factors that contribute to Memphis’ high poverty rate. She mentioned issues in transportation and a minimum wage that she considers to be far too low. It turns out those rates are just as bad for kids in the Southern part of the city, making Chauncy’s story that much more inspirational.

Children Are Significantly Affected

The child poverty rate highlighted in Dr. Elena Delavega’s report was a whopping 44.7 percent. As Delavega put it, “what that means, and I want you to think about it, is that when you see a child walking down the street, when you see a child, there’s a 50-50 chance […] that that child is living in poverty.”


Such data sounds terrible and it’s pretty clear that it would take a lot of Matt Whites to initiate a real and lasting solution to the monumental problem. While it certainly does take a tremendous amount of effort and a huge influx of resources to resolve poverty, this doesn’t mean that individuals can’t make a difference. And, as we’ve learned from the remarkable Matt White, the tools of the digital age make great allies in this mission.

The GoFundMe Process

GoFundMe is an online fundraising channel that aims to raise much-needed money for people who are in need of assistance. The for-profit company gets 5 percent of the total donations made on its platform, on top of a 2.9 percent payment-processing fee per donation. The rest of the money goes to the cause for which the GoFundMe account was opened.


GoFundMe is available to assist individuals and organizations for almost any fundraising event you can imagine. So, if you have a cause that needs funding, and people are willing to contribute, the website can really be valuable. It certainly worked for Matt White and all the people he positively influenced with his acts of generosity and kindness.

On Having Regrets

Matt White revealed that he wished he had taken on a spokesperson before Chauncy Black’s story went viral. The idea of this would be to manage the media backlash that inevitably flows in when a story is trending. No matter how good your intentions, if a story goes viral, there will always be negative comments. Recalling the criticisms they received, Matt said, “you don’t know what to do…”


Matt and Chauncy were not prepared for the media attention they would receive due to the viral Facebook post and GoFundMe account. While there was a bit of negativity, the overwhelming majority of the attention was positive. Someone volunteered to buy Chauncy a lawn mower and another stranger offered to buy Barbara the new teeth she so desperately needed. Then, they were asked by a local news station to run their story, and even The Ellen DeGeneres Show put in a request for their appearance. Not to forget that GoFundMe would maintain constant communication with Matt and Chauncy.

Matt White’s Final Statement

“In the end, this whole experience has really shown me the power of God’s love in a community. Before there was any money, this was just me using videos and Facebook to try to affect change on the direction of a young man’s life through the kindness of others. All I intended to do was get Chauncy to come to church with me and encourage him in his efforts to have a lawn mowing business. But God had bigger plans.”


“Now Chauncy and his mom have a home of their own, and a future. And they want to go out and pay it forward. To keep the wave of love that saved their lives moving onto the next family. Seeing that happen has been the most beautiful and rewarding thing I could ever ask for. I just want to tell everyone that made this possible how much it means to me and that I promise I’ll work to the day I die to help keep it moving.”

GoFundMe Gone Wrong?

After receiving an outpour of support and money to the GoFundMe, good tidings only lasted so long when 4 years later in 2020, Chauncy Black was arrested and sentenced for his role in the shooting death of a neighbor along with his brother, Timothy. In 2016, Black was just a teenager, but now he is serving time in prison.


The money that they got through this GoFundMe was used to buy a house in a safer neighborhood and have access to better resources but apparently, over 265 calls were made to the police in 2 years. The house was then unfortunately closed as a public nuisance.

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