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‘Sweet Relief Fund’ in Largo sparks pay-it-forward movement nationwide

Pinellas County

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (WFLA) – 8 On Your Side is following up to a story today we first brought you in May regarding a 93-year-old Largo man who created a contest to give away stimulus money in hopes of sparking a chain reaction around the country, and he did.

Since the story aired on May 7, Virgil Sweet says he has received 208 responses from 13 states around the country of people in need hoping to be the lucky winner.

Sweet could only pick one winner, so he chose a single mother who is battling brain cancer and has two young boys, one of which has severe autism and needs round the clock care. The woman said she needed money for food.

Mr.Sweet said many of the other letters were similar. He said most people weren’t just looking for a handout, they were continuing to look for a job and just needed helping getting food on the table.

Mr.Sweet understands tough times. A proud veteran, he served in world war two. “This is the worst I’ve seen the country since that time,” said Mr.Sweet. He said it was hard to turn the other families who need help away, and he says with other people’s help, he won’t have to.

Since the story aired, Sweet says he has received more than $12,000 from people who wanted to help him in his effort. He has since set up an LLC called the “Sweet Relief Fund.” He said he wanted it to be a non-profit but that was told that it would take 2 months to set up with the current state our government is in, so he settled for the LLC to get the money to those in need quicker.

8 On Your Side spoke with a Largo man inspired by Mr.Sweet’s act of kindness. “It was something I kind of needed, it was a bit of a shining light,” said Mike Carpenter of Largo. “Just being kind to others. It was really awesome to see,” said Carpenter.

Carpenter wanted to help so he began a fundraiser to donate to help Mr.Sweet reach his goal. He donated $850, and he’s not done trying to help The Sweet Relief Fund yet.

Mr.Sweet has a goal of raising $35,000 to help the other 207 families who wrote to him.

“I wish the people out there would reach into their pocketbooks and send us a little bit, no matter how much. Because this is one of the few places you can send it where every penny is going to go to the needy. Most of them take something off the top. Not here!” said Mr.Sweet.

You can only donate to the “Sweet Relief Fund,” via a check. You can send a check payable to Sweet Relief Fund LLC to the following address:

P.O. Box 2507
Largo, FL 33779

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