Fidencio Sanchez: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know

Fidencio sanchez

Fidencio Sanchez. (Go Fund Me)

A stranger created a fundraising site that has raised over $300,000 to help an 89-year-old popsicle vendor he spotted hunched over but steadfastly pushing his cart in Chicago’s Little Village.

Fidencio Sanchez went back to work selling popsicles from a cart after his daughter died so he and his wife could raise their grandchildren, said BBC.

A stranger was moved to act and create a fundraising site for the elderly man after he spotted him with his cart. Now, Sanchez is receiving worldwide support. And, on September 21, he received a check for $380,000. He said through an interpreter that he’s ecstatic and grateful and he wanted to thank the entire community and world. He said he would never forget this, and that he thanks everybody and thanks God, according to a video posted by ABC:

One man wrote on the fundraising page for Sanchez, “None of us know each other, but we all came together to help someone we all felt needed it.” Another man donated $100 and wrote, “God bless this hard working soul with a heart of gold!” The amount donated was growing by the hour.

Here’s what you need to know:

1. A Stranger Created a Fundraising Site After Seeing Sanchez Struggling to Push His Cart

Joel Cervantes Macias, at the suggestion of his friend Joe Loera, created the Go Fund Me site that has raised almost $200,000 for Sanchez. On the site, Macias explained, “As I was driving down 26th st in the Little Village area in Chicago where I was born and raised, I saw this elderly man struggling to push (h)is paleta cart (Popsicle cart). It broke my heart seeing this man that should be enjoying retirement still working at this age.”

Macias wrote that he pulled over and snapped a photo of Sanchez which he then shared on Facebook. “I then bought 20 paletas and gave him a $50 and said may God bless him and drove away. I posted this picture on Fb and since then, I’ve gotten a huge response.”

Loera then suggested he create the fundraising site. They titled it, “Relief for Fidencio the paleta man.”

2. Sanchez’ Wife Also Sold Paletas but Is Too Ill to Do It Anymore

On Go Fund Me, Macias, wrote that “Sanchez and his wife recently lost their only daughter and are still heartbroken about the situation.”

He said, “His elderly wife was selling paletas also to help pay bills, but she fell ill and can’t work anymore. We’re trying to raise money to help him with whatever we can. Anything helps. Let’s all pitch in and help make life a little easier and brighten both of their day.”

The Chicago Tribune said Sanchez’ wife, Eladia, now sells Mexican candies.

3. Sanchez Has Sold Paletas for 23 Years in Chicago’s Little Village Neighborhood & Does It Day & Night

Sanchez told ABC News in Spanish that he has sold paletas for 23 years and had retired two months before. However, when his daughter died and he and his wife were left with two grandsons to raise, he thought, “what are we going to do? We have to pay the bills,” said ABC 7.

ABC7 said Sanchez said of selling paletas, “I wake up early and all day until eight at night.”

Cervantes told The Chicago Tribune that this is one reason he suspects people rallied behind the man: He is a long-time fixture in the neighborhood. “After I put it on Facebook, people started inboxing me and they were like, ‘I know that gentleman, he’s always around town.’ …I should’ve known it touches everybody else who sees him,” he told the newspaper.

4. The Donations Are the Equivalent of Thousands of Paleta Sales

When the Go Fund Me site was at $135,000, The Chicago Tribune calculated that it would have taken Sanchez 9,000 paleta sales to make that amount.

Some people have donated more than $1,000, but other donations are in small amounts, says NPR.

5. Sanchez Attends a Chicago-Area Church & a Member of It Has Expressed Gratitude

Karina Cruz thanked the more than 9,000 donors who have raised more than $300,000 for Sanchez.

“Hello Everyone! This is amazing I’m completely taken by surprise!” she wrote. “His name is Fidencio Sanchez and he’s a member and pioneer of our church. They’ve gone through a terrible loss. (Their) only daughter and support system passed away a month ago and it’s been tough on them…He’s at our church every single SATURDAY by 10am.”

The amount raised has far surpassed the initial goal of $3,000. Wrote one woman, “I love how the goal was set for 3000 but God and the people of Chicago said…No…we doing more! ❤❤❤❤❤❤.”