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Homeless Man, 77, Scrounges Up Cash From Strangers To Help Others In Need

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LOS FELIZ (CBSLA.com) — A 77-year-old homeless man saved up the money he scrounged from strangers to help other people in need.

Ed Denst recently gave $250—all in $1 bills—to Claire Padama, the board president of the Society of Saint Vincent de Paul Council of Los Angeles, which is a Catholic charity.

“You could buy meals, you could buy yourself clothes, you could do a lot with that money. Why give it away?” KCAL9’s Rachel Kim asked Denst.

“Well, because I thought about giving back. (It) makes me feel very good,” he said.

Padama said the money will be used to help people who need rental or utility assistance.

“I was shocked. I think that’s more meaningful than those people who have a lot,” she said.

Padama has known Denst for almost two decades. She makes sure he receives his daily meal at Our Mother of Good Counsel Church.

“We started hot lunches 19 years ago. That’s how I met Ed,” said Padama.

Denst, an ex-Marine, said he became homeless after his wife died 23 years ago. He admitted he sold his house and spent all his money.

He’s been on the streets ever since.

“What I’m learning is that people are charitable and that should make me thankful,” he said.

Denst said he’ll continue to give, not just take. He doesn’t consider himself a religious man, but he’s learning the Lord’s prayer.

“Give us this day our daily bread…that is very meaningful to me. I think that is how I have every day,” he said.

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