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Elderly kroger cashier and an elderly cashier holding a bouquet of flowers standing next to a man.

Strangers Raise $85K For Homeless Elderly Kroger Cashier

https://www.dreammachineusa.org/fundraiser-for-sonja/
Uplifting News

Elderly Kroger Cashier Is Forced to Sleep on the Floor - So Strangers Raise $85,000

Philanthropist Charlie Rocket helps raise more than $85,000 for elderly Kroger cashier experiencing homelessness.

As the cost of living continues to skyrocket, more and more people are finding it increasingly difficult to make ends meet, never mind retire. Affordable housing is woefully lacking and homelessness has reached epidemic proportions.

For years, Sonja has been working as a cashier at Kroger, the largest supermarket operator in the U.S. But despite her job, she is homeless and currently sleeping on the floor in a shelter.


However, thanks to the goodness of strangers (with a not-so-little boost from philanthropist and entrepreneur Charlie Rocket) that's all about to change.

Elderly Kroger Employee is Sleeping on the Floor

@charlie

Link in bio to donate 🥹 We talked to miss Sonja for an hour and she said it was okay for our foundation to launch her a fundraiser. 100% of the donations go directly to her 🙏🏻❤️ #elderly #homeless #fypp #kindness

Charlie Rocket, known as @charlie on TikTok, met Sonja just a few days ago. He was shopping in a Kroger in Nashville when he noticed her working at the till.

"I saw this elderly woman working at Kroger," he captioned a now-viral video with over 4.4 million views.

"The manager told me she's living in a homeless shelter. Life shouldn't be this hard."

— Charlie Rocket

He spent the next hour talking to her and getting to know her story. He shared a bit of it in a follow-up TikTok, revealing that Sonja works 4 days a week and sleeps on a small mat on the floor of a nearby women's shelter.

"Can you tell me what your dream is in life?" Charlie asks her in the video that has been viewed more than 1 million times.

Unable to hold back tears, she tells him her dream is affordable housing. Not a million dollars or luxury travel or even retirement. She merely wants a basic necessity and something that should be universally available — a roof over her head she can call home.

"My dream? I need some housing...affordable housing. I'm staying at the women's shelter."

When he asks her what she prays for she simply and heartbreakingly answers, "Strength."

Charlie Rocket Raises 7X the Original Goal

@charlie

Link in bio to donate. My heart broke to pieces when she told me she was sleeping on the floor some nights at the homeless shelter 💔😔 Miss Sonja needs our help! Let’s get her into a house and retire her 🙏🏻 #elderly #fypp #viral #homeless

Appalled by her situation, Charlie immediately launched a fundraiser through his nonprofit — the Dream Machine Foundation. According to the nonprofit's website, he founded it in 2018 after he was diagnosed with a brain tumor and hit "rock bottom."

He credits holding on to his dream of becoming an athlete for saving his life. Over the next 12 months, he ran 4 marathons, completed an ironman, dropped 125 pounds, and reversed his brain tumor.

"His dream saved his life, and he is now dedicating the rest of his life to making dreams come true for others in need of a miracle," the website reads.

Charlie set the goal at $12,000 hoping to raise funds to secure a safe and comfortable living situation for Sonja for one year. The fundraiser took off, blowing past the original goal in LESS THAN ONE HOUR.

Six days later, it has amassed an incredible $85,000. Enough to keep Sonja in her own home for the next seven years. The fundraiser is ongoing.

Homelessness is a Growing Problem

Philanthropist Charlie Rocket raises more than $85,000 for elderly Kroger cashier experiencing homelessness.

Philanthropist Charlie Rocket raises more than $85,000 for elderly Kroger cashier experiencing homelessness.

https://www.dreammachineusa.org/fundraiser-for-sonja/


Sonja is just one of thousands of Kroger employees across the country who have had trouble feeding themselves or paying for housing. The Economic Roundtable (a nonprofit research group) surveyed 10,000 unionized workers in the U.S. and found that 1 in 7 Kroger workers faced homelessness in 2022.

In response, Kroger developed an improvement plan which included increasing wages and steps to improve tuition assistance and retirement benefits. But the reality is that it's still not enough to combat our grueling economic conditions.

And it isn't just Kroger. Other large companies, including Walmart and Fred Meyer, have been criticized for failing to provide adequate wages and benefits to their employees, leading to similar issues of food insecurity and homelessness among their workforce.

While there's clearly a need for systemic change, it's not going to change overnight. Meanwhile, community support and advocacy remain crucial in providing immediate relief and long-term solutions for those in need like Sonja.

We may not have the power or the funds to change the world, but we do have the power to make a difference in someone's life.

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