Over her lifetime, Chen Shu-chu, a Taiwanese woman who makes a modest living selling vegetables, has donated over NT$10 million to charity (the equivalent of over $300,000 in U.S. currency). Chen accumulated the money working long 18-hour days at a local market and living frugally.
For her amazing contributions, to local libraries and orphanages, TIME Magazine named Chen one of the most influential people of 2010. Now, the AFP reports Chen's generous giving has set off a nationwide trend, encouraging others of small means to donate to charity.
"The point of Chen's story is that all of sudden many people found that even though they may not be rich, their tiny but persistent small donations may come as a great help to some people," said Hu Yu-fang of United Way.
According to AFP, former soldier Hu Shou-hung, inspired by Chen, has given away his life's savings of $30,000 to a charity that supports orphan children of soldiers killed in action. Hu is 88 years old, explaining to reporters that he no longer needs the money.
"Chen is like a seed," said Phyllis Weng, a senior social worker of the Taiwan Fund for Children and Families in the central Taiwan city of Taichung.
"It has taken deep root in the hearts of many people. Her influence will be far-reaching."