A GoFundMe page to benefit a homeless man and his friend who found a backpack packed with bombs in New Jersey has exceeded its $10,000 goal.
As of Wednesday afternoon, the page had pledges more than $18,000. The GoFundMe page said The Elizabeth Coalition for the Homeless had placed Lee Parker, who is homeless, in a home and were "working on permanent housing for him."
Parker noticed the backpack near a train station in Elizabeth, N.J., Sunday night because he needed one; he had been carrying his belongings in a blue garbage bag previously, CNN reported.
Parker and his friend Ivan White, who lives on a fixed income according to the GoFundMe page, took the bag.
“So I picked up the bag, looked at it, we started walking and I put the bag down and looked inside it one more time and said, ‘This is a bomb,’” White told CBS New York. “We need to go get the police.’”
An independent nonprofit called At Heart’s Length is collecting the funds for Parker and White. A third of the funds collected for the two men will go to the Elizabeth Coalition for the Homeless, a nonprofit providing resources for the homeless in New Jersey.
After volunteers with At Heart’s Length heard reports of a homeless man finding the backpack, Joe Padlo and Lester Dominguez searched New Jersey streets to find him.
They successfully found White and confirmed his story with police, At Heart’s Length vice president Giuliano Farina said. Then they located Parker. The group helped share the men's story and have remained in close contact.
“If it wasn’t for people like Ivan and Lee, who saw something and reported it, it would have been more serious than it was,” Farina said.
At Heart’s Length plans to present the men with checks at an upcoming media event. The date has not yet been announced.
Donald Goncalves, who authored the page, said on Facebook that Lee was able to sleep "in an actual bed" this week because of the support.