A group of students in Texas raised over $168,000 to help a school janitor who was forced out of retirement due to increased rent. The janitor had been working at the school for a couple of years and had retired, but had to return to work due to the high cost of living.
Texas Students Raise Over $168K For School Janitor Forced Out Of Retirement To Afford Increased Rent
Students in Cooke County, Texas, assisted an 80-year-old man who had to leave retirement to pay rent, and now his story is making news across the country. Mr. James' rent rose by about $400 a month, and he was unable to make ends meet without going back to work.
The elderly man retired from a job in a different field in January 2023 and started working at Callisburg High School because he could not afford rent. "He's a hard worker. He's an older man, so he doesn't get around as the students do, but he's a worker," said Jason Hooper, the school principal, as per Fox News.
Three students from the school chose to assist him after hearing his story. "It got brought up the other day in class and me and my friend Banner were like, you know what we should start a GoFundMe, you know like those things people do on TikTok and it goes viral," said senior Marti Yousko.
They asked their TikTok-famous friend Greyson Thurman, who has a sizable fan base, to post about the effort. "I think God called us all to do it," said Thurman, adding, "Once I heard, ‘Greyson you should post it’, something was heavy on my heart telling me, Greyson you gotta do it and if you don't, this guy's going to keep working here."
Thurman created a GoFundMe page called "Getting Mr. James out of this school," on which she stated, "Hey guys I’m having a fundraiser for our janitor who is struggling to pay his rent. He had to leave retirement to continue to pay his rent that was raised. Just a little will change his life!!"
The initiative received a lot of support and soon went viral.
"We knew being in a small town like Callisburg that people would want to help and people would want to support us, especially with something like this, but I don't think we ever imagined that there'd be like news channels here," said Yousko.
Within a week of posting, the fundraiser has collected more than $168,000. "When we told [James], he was kind of like, 'dang, that's alright!'," said Yousko.
"When we told [James], he was kind of like, 'dang, that's alright!'," said Yousko. "I don't think anyone should have to come out of retirement just to make ends meet," he said.
"Nobody deserves to work their whole life. They deserve to enjoy everything," said Thurman.
James was fine with his story being shared but declined the offer of an interview.