Community Raises $100K For Widower Selling Kindling To Pay Wife’s Medical Bills

Kenneth and Helen Smith were a fixture at a particular street corner in Gulfport, Mississippi. For years, they sold bags of kindling at $5 a bag to any passersby who needed fire starters.

"She was right here with me. Should would sit and wave at all the people that would come by," Smith told WLOX.

Tragically, Helen died after a long bout with cancer, which cost the Smiths thousands of dollars in the process. Kenneth had to use all of his savings towards the medical bills.

Even with Helen gone, Kenneth kept selling those bags of kindling. One passerby, Jessica Pittman, noticed his wife missing and understood what had happened. Pittman wrote a sweet post on Facebook about Smith's story.

"My heart breaks every time I pass him," Pittman wrote on Facebook. "He waves at every single car that passes. On 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."

Since she "can't buy all" of the kindling, she asked her friends and members of the community to help out. Shortly thereafter, Smith's son Leslie created a GoFundMe account for any and all donations. And when the local TV station WLOX arrived, people were lined up to buy bags of kindling from Smith.

As of this post, people have given more than $108,000 to Smith for his wife's medical bills, as well as some extra to put back in his savings account.

Smith has been grateful for the support and now has hope for not just his community, but for this nation.

"It makes me think that we live in a good country, and this is part of it," said Smith.

Like how kindling starts a fire, this all started with a spark on Facebook. If you would like to donate, go to the GoFundMe site here.