The story of Jaheim Benton and his return from the Little League World Series without a place to truly call home has opened some eyes and certainly tugged on a few heartstrings. So much so, there are already reports of people reaching out to his family to help cover their expenses so they can reunite under one roof.
According to ABC 7, one Chicago business owner has gone as far as to offer paying one full year of rent for Benton's family as they attempt to get back on their feet.
Spencer Leak, Jr., from Leak and Sons Funeral Home in Chatham, was moved by Jaheim's story. The Leak family made a generous gift on Friday: a year's worth of rent for the Little Leaguer's family.
"I would hope that this rent turns into a mortgage that turns into home ownership for them," said Leak Jr. "We want our little superstar to have a roof over his head because that's what he is. He's a superstar."
Leak, a father of two, told the Huffington Post that he felt bad about the Benton family's situation and thought about how fortunate he's been to support his own family. Given his position and the Benton's story, he felt an obligation to step up.
“God has blessed us, so we have to give back. Whether it be help for a funeral or housing or giving food, we have to step up to do that.”
Big League Stew's David Brown detailed the Benton family's plight after it was reported in the Chicago Sun Times on Friday.
The family has been incredibly strong throughout, even though they've been mostly forced to live apart. Jaheim's Little League journey provided a welcomed distraction for them on a personal level, but on a larger scale it created awareness and put a face on the reality that times are tough for many families, and there's a real struggle for them to make ends meet.
"Mrs. Benton is such a strong woman," Leak told HuffPost. "She does not want the focus to be on her -- she wants the focus to be on the team. Even though she’s going through trials, she’s still more concerned about [Jackie Robinson West ]."
"This shouldn't have even been a story," Leak added. "If I had heard of it before now, it wouldn't have been a story because I would have done something about it."
As Leak noted, Jaheim's mom has requested that the focus remain on the players and their incredible success this summer. We'll certainly respect that wish, but we also wanted to tip our cap to Leak for his remarkable generosity.
BLS H/N: Larry Brown Sports
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