Local man donates $400,000 to children's home over 32 years by r - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Local man donates $400,000 to children's home over 32 years by recycling

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Channel 3 wants to re-introduce you to a Channel 3 Jefferson Award Winner, a North Georgia man who has dedicated his life to serving others in an unusual way 

READ MORE | Jefferson Award Honoree: Johnny Jennings
     
86 year-old, Johnny Jennings was able to raise more than $400,000 dollars in donations by collecting aluminum cans, paper and pennies for the last 32 years. By recycling he alone has saved 79,000 trees and every penny of profit goes to needy children.

"They bring it here in boxes and paper bags and plastic bags whatever," said Jennings. 

Jennings spends most of his days recycling paper and cans. Church friends and volunteers drop off bags of items, he collects the rest around town and has since 1985.

"I built this fence up so it wouldn't show," said Jennings. 

He says the fence was for his wife of 60 years who worried about the clutter but the cans are for the orphaned children who are living at the Georgia Baptist Children's Home.  Johnny first visited them at age 18, 

"We visited and had a meal with them and we went to leave that afternoon, 3 little boys grabbed me around the knee and said would you be my daddy," said Jennings. "So that turned my heart around right there."

He's dedicated his life to helping the children by giving them checks every year.  Officials say in all, he's donated more than $400,000 dollars.

"Over 9 million pounds of paper, isn't that something," said Jennings. 

Jennings has donated more than 20,000 pennies too, it takes 84,000 pennies to fill just one wheelbarrow. Johnny says it goes to show how a  little effort can go a long way. 

"All of this could have been in the landfills and what amazes me is every ton of paper that's recycled, it saves 17 trees," said Jennings. 

A mini-stroke last month set him back a few loads each week, but he has no plans of stopping his work anytime soon. 

"I say I'll last until the undertaker turns my heels up," said Jennings. "So I guess it'll last as long as I can make it."

Johnny says he lives by one motto, 

"Just be willing to work a little bit," said Jennings. " I think I do pretty good for 86-years-old."

Johnny was also honored with a Jefferson Award from Channel 3 in 2010.

"Johnny Jennings is one of the most gracious individuals I have ever met. I have always admired his quiet, humble spirit, his commitment to helping others and most of all, his love for the children in our care. We are so blessed to have someone of his character dedicated to serving our ministry,"  Dr. Kenneth Z. Thompson, President of the Georgia Baptist Children's Homes 

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