(ST. JOSEPH, Mo.) It all started as an idea for 26-year-old Missouri Western student R.J. Jackson to start a fundraiser to buy space heaters after he learned of a local elderly woman who didn't have a furnace.
Jackson's initial fundraiser has since tripled in the past month raising $325, resulting in the donation of 30 space heaters to the AFL-CIO.
"There are a lot of people in our community who really need help," Jackson said.
One of those people in need of help is 75-year-old Art Thompson, who has been living in St. Joseph for 60 years and is currently living on disability and has been living without heat for several months.
"When you don't have heat, you miss something like that. It feels good to know somebody cares about people and to help out other people. It's not like that in the world anymore," Thompson said.
"To actually see someone firsthand who is going to be receiving this that means a lot to me. This gentleman who is on oxygen, who has limited means. It means the world to me to actually see someone being helped," Jackson said.
The common bond that Jackson and Thompson have now is something that can't be burned out -- a respect for one another as human beings and community members.
"That's a nice young man right there just helping out. You don't meet them like that anymore. Very few a part," Thompson said.
To see if you are eligible for a free space heater, contact the AFL-CIO at (816) 364-1131.
To donate to Jackson's second fundraiser for space heaters click here.