89-Year-Old Paletero Who Received Over $250K in Donations Plans to Use Money to Help Others

Lead Photo: Collage by Alan Lopez for Remezcla
Collage by Alan Lopez for Remezcla
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In the last few days, the internet has rallied together to change the life of an elderly paletero. Last week, Joel Cervantes Macias’ heart broke when he saw Fidencio Sánchez, an 89-year-old struggling to push a paleta cart, in the Little Village area of Chicago. Macias gave Sánchez $50, but couldn’t stop thinking about the encounter. He posted about it on Facebook, where others encouraged him to start a GoFundMe account for Fidencio. In three days, people have raised more than $260,000 – far more than the initial goal of $3,000 that Macias hoped to raise.

Related: This Crowdfunding Campaign Raised $50K and Counting For a Hardworking Elderly Paletero

Since going viral, so many have taken interest in Sánchez’s life, and Macias has done his best to keep the process as transparent as possible. In his latest update on GoFundMe, he explained that he initially planned to give Fidencio the money early this week. However, after the campaign took off, he decided to wait until later in the week to give people a chance to continue donating.

Alyssa Pointer/Chicago Tribune
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The amount of generosity people have displayed toward Fidencio is heartwarming, but perhaps what’s even more touching are the paletero’s plans for the money. In an interview with Univision, Fidencio explained that he plans to use his money to help others. “I’m going to give part of it to the church here, part of it to the church in my native land, some of it will go to my grandchildren, and certain people that I see have a need.”

After their only daughter died, Don Fidencio and his wife, Doña Eladia, were saddled with new expenses. The two both worked selling paletas, but Eladia recently became injured. According to Fusion, she now sells candy, but Eladia said this money will make life easier for them. Pointing at a group of people watching her get interviewed, Eladia said, “Now we see that we have many sons and grandsons.”

You can continue donating here.