PORTLAND -- A single mother struggling to raise two young children with the income from her food cart in Southeast Portland said she has reason to believe in people again.
A thief broke into her food cart on Southeast Belmont Street on Thanksgiving night and stole $1,800.
"I had a lot of cash that night because many people bought pies on Thanksgiving," said Mary Sheridan. She usually never leaves cash inside her business, but did on the holiday. "To work so hard and get great sales and then to come back and find it was all stolen was pretty devastating."
She put that heartbreak into words and posted a letter to the thief outside her food cart explaining how the money was for rent and for her kids' Christmas gifts. She also shared her story with the local media and it got national attention, too.
Then, something heartwarming happened. People started donating money to Sheridan and spreading the word even further, through social media.
On Tuesday, Sheridan told KGW she got so much money in donations, now she can use it to help others, too. She said the donations nearly doubled the amount that was stolen.
"It's really nice to be able to give back to the community and it put me in a position I couldn't have otherwise been in," Sheridan said. "I couldn't have donated to a needy family without this whole event. So that's pretty amazing."
She added that some of her customers have dropped off Christmas gifts for her children, too. She said it's all given her a new awareness and she's thankful for the community support.
Background: Thief targets Portland food cart