Woman crowdfunds homeless man’s ticket home
15 February 2014
A WOMAN’S online appeal to help a homeless man has resulted in thousands of dollars of donations. Michael is overwhelmed at finally returning home
A WOMAN whose online appeal to send a homeless Jamaican man back to his native country has succeeded in raising thousands of dollars.
Jenny Baker, from Rotherhithe in England, saw her fundraising total skyrocket yesterday as news spread of her mission to help a 64-year-old man called Michael who has been sleeping rough in Dalston in England.
Supporters have been using the Twitter hashtag #getmichaelhome to highlight the appeal.
The goal was £8,000 (around $14,820 AUD*), but donations closed today at £10,215 (almost $18,930 AUD*).
Jenny used gofundme.com to get the campaign going, and over five days a total of 1,227 people contributed raising the phenomenal amount of money for Michael’s return journey.
Jenny’s initial post on the crowd-funding website which she posted on 9 February says: “You’re all going to think I am more mental than before with this status but here goes ... Last night I was out in Dalston and came across a very sweet homeless man. We got chatting (as you do) and I offered to give him some money etc ... Anyway, he didn’t want money or booze he just said he loved a ginger beer, so I went and got him a ginger beer and a sandwich. He told me that he is 64 and came over to England with his mum for a better life. Unfortunately his mother passed away and he found himself homeless with no funds. He told me that all he wants more than anything in the world is to go back to Jamaica where he says he will be fine and happy again. I have promised this man that this time next year he will be back in Jamaica and that I will make it my personal mission to make it happen. Anyway, let’s #getmichaelhome spread the love, thank you xxx.”
Five days later it looks like her dreams (and Michael’s) will come true.
She’s already told Michael about the donations, and via social media told the world that he was overwhelmed. Her first goal is to get him a hostel, toiletries and warm clothes in the interim as she waits to speak to the embassy for advice.
Describing the moment she told him, she wrote on her fundraising page: “In true Jamaican spirit he seemed as chilled as ever, but in his eyes I could see how overwhelmed, touched and shocked he is to be even thinking that his dream to return home could actually become a reality.
“I am still not 100% convinced that he believed me but I left him some of your messages so I hope this helps it to start sinking in.
“So much to do still but I wanted to say thank you from the bottom of mine and Michael’s hearts. This whole thing has proved how, even in the depths of darkness this is a beautiful we world live in.”
*Currency conversion correct at time of publishing and rounded to nearest $5.