"We want as many people in the entire world to see this and want to do this."
"Fill My Basket is us paying it forward to complete strangers. Going to a grocery store and getting behind somebody and waiting for the bill and paying it and walking away."
Those are the words of Matthew Danuser. With his buddies Disty Simpson, Nick Bubb, and Felix Cornejo, he started the organization Fill My Basket with the goal of surprising complete strangers by paying their grocery bill. They've been on a mission to put smiles on people's faces ever since.
They film the heartwarming effects of this simple act to keep their chain of kindness going. Check it out:
Supermarket sweet: This generous organization pays for strangers' groceries and is giving back one cart at a time.Posted by Upworthy on Friday, November 11, 2016
Danuser and Simpson first got the urge to create Fill My Basket when they saw a video of a man paying for a stranger's groceries.
"That's how this started for me," says Danuser. "I saw a video of a gentleman paying for groceries and I knew immediately — once I stopped crying — that I wanted to do this."
Good thing he shared that video because someone he hadn't seen in about 12 years took notice.
"I watched the video and it just really touched me. ... Then about two hours later, I get back on social media and I noticed that my friend, Disty Simpson, my [now] co-director, had seen the video too and was just overwhelmed by it and said, 'When I get my next bonus, I'm doing this.' And I said, 'You know what? I’m in it with you.'"
Since August 2016, Fill My Basket has already raised over $4,000 and helped over 60 families.
And the responses they've gotten have been overwhelming. Danuser shared a story that showed just how meaningful a single set of groceries can be:
"This gentleman — it was him, his wife and five children ... it was just really obvious that they were on a budget, and we love to help families like that. ... Anyway, I paid for this food basket. I think it was $170, and I just tapped him and said, 'God bless' and walked off. And he just immediately ran after me as I'm walking out the door and he just started crying and he said, 'Thank you so much! You have no idea how much this means.' At that point, I realized it was something he really, really could've used. Sometimes, it's much greater than just buying somebody's groceries. Sometimes, people's hearts just need to be touched."
"They always said it's better to give than to receive, but we've learned that in the process of what we're doing in the community, there's a gift in both giving and receiving," Simpson adds. "It's an amazing rush."
So how exactly are they doing this good deed? Through donations they’ve gathered on the internet.
Well, except for the very first time they did this, in August 2016. Danuser and Simpson used $415 of their own money to go with the $405 that Simpson was able to raise using social media.
Today, strangers are the ones helping them on their mission. People can go to FillMyBasket.org to donate money or even volunteer their time. Social media, however, is the medium that's really driven their cause forward.
"Without social media, we probably would not have been able to do any of this," says Danuser. "And what I mean by that is just we could do this and everything would be great and this would be very happy for us to be part of. But the thing is we want as many people in the entire world to see this and want to do this."
"That's the only reason why we video — because we wanted to share that feeling of that reaction," Simpson adds. "When you actually see that and get those chills down your back, it's OK to feel what love can be, and it can be as simple as doing something as random as that."
All these good Samaritans want to do is help people for the rest of their lives.
Like Danuser said, this really is more than just buying groceries. Now, it's become a way of life.
He explains: "I want to wake up every single day and I want to go out and help somebody. ... I want to go to a laundromat and talk to some families and find someone who has a home, but they just don't have money for a washer and dryer and then buy them a washer and dryer. Or help this homeless family get into the city rescue and help them get back on their feet. Just everyday out doing things for people."
We can't wait to see how they surprise us next.