Never let anyone tell you that a small gesture can't change the world, because Johnny Jennings is living proof that it can.
More than 30 years ago Johnny started collecting old cans and paper products to recycle. It was a way to bond with his son Brent, and put a little money in his savings account. By the time Brent was ready to buy a house, they had collected enough money to pay for his down payment.
But after Brent moved out Johnny didn't have a reason to keep collecting recycling. A trip to an orphanage run by the Georgia Baptist Children's Homes changed that, along with Johnny's life and his community.
As Johnny was heading out the door three young boys stopped him, asking if he would adopt them. Johnny couldn't, but he promised he would do anything to help them.
This led Johnny to start collecting recycling again. Over 30 years he's collected more than 9 million pounds of paper waste, along with aluminum and even pennies that he sets aside for charity. Once, Johnny donated 24 miles of pennies, worth over $20,000.
In total, the children's homes say Johnny has donated over $400,000 to them, and he's been named a trustee on their board. There's no telling how many orphans and troubled families he's helped over the years, but it's clear that he's made a lot of lives better.
The one thing more incredible that Johnny's generosity is his humbleness. If he had it his way, nobody would even know that he had donated such a huge amount of money.
"My dad doesn't see the $400,000. He sees the faces of those kids," Brent told ABC news.
It took one of Johnny's longtime friends, Shay Drennan-Love, to push him into the spotlight. Every week for the past 12 years Johnny has collected the recycling from her business.
Last month she shared a Facebook post about Johnny, saying that Johnny's story "needs to be told," and that "our generation and the ones to follow could learn a lot from Mr. Jennings."
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