Dalston homeless man overwhelmed he can return home to Jamaica thanks to £9k crowdfunding cash
PUBLISHED: 10:21 13 February 2014 | UPDATED: 10:21 13 February 2014
A homeless Dalston man was overwhelmed and in shock this week when a girl he had met just 48 hours earlier raised more than £9,500 to fly him home to a new life in Jamaica.
Jenny Baker raised the amount in just two days with an internet crowd-funding campaign, after being moved by the story of the 64-year-old man she knew only as “Michael”.
Ms Baker offered him money when she met him on a night out in Dalston.
He told her he had come over to England with his mother for “a better life” several years ago. But when she died he found himself homeless with no money.
Ms Baker said: “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 was a genuinely lovely, unassuming man.
“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.”
She was so touched by his story, she promised he would be back in Jamaica this time next year, and that she would make it her “personal mission” to make it happen.
The next day she put out a plea on the internet site Go Fund Me, and within 24 hours the target of £800 for a flight to Jamaica had been met 10 times over, with donations coming from as far away as Canada, Cape Town and Dubai.
The plan now is to use the money to help set up Michael in Jamaica and hopefully get him off the streets.
On Monday Ms Baker set out to track him down to relay the good news, and was delighted to find him in the same spot where she met him.
She said: “He was so grateful, if not totally in shock. I am not sure if he is convinced it’s happening yet.
“The good news is he has a passport and family that he can go back to, so it should be easier and quicker to get him home than it could have been otherwise. I have a lot to sort out but I am determined it will happen.”
To support the campaign, visit www.gofundme.com/6rb6f0.