Community raises thousands of dollars for 89-year-old ice cream vendor

Posted at 8:57 PM, Sep 12, 2016
and last updated 2016-09-12 23:57:35-04

Strangers have donated hundreds of thousands of dollars after learning that one longtime Chicago resident was struggling to pay his bills.

Fidencio Sanchez, 89, has been pushing his ice cream cart through the streets of Chicago for 23 years.

"I wake up early and all day until 8 at night," Sanchez told ABC affiliate WLS-TV in Chicago via a translator.

A few weeks ago, Sanchez's daughter died and he and his wife were suddenly caring for their two grandsons.

Sanchez then returned to work selling ice cream.

"We thought, 'What are we going to do? We have to pay the bills,'" he said.

"It's really hard working out here in the streets, in the summer and cold winter," Sanchez added. "Even in bad weather we still have to go out and sell and the carts get stuck in the streets."

The story caught the attention of fellow Chicagoan Joel Cervantes Macias, who shared a photo of Sanchez on Facebook and later set up a crowdfunding page on the fundraising website GoFundMe.As of today, he's raised over $200,000.

"Let's all pitch in and help make life a little easier and brighten both of their day," Macias wrote on GoFundMe.

Despite the outpouring in donations, Sanchez said he plans to continue working.