From left, Deputy Chief Jeff Engel, Kevin Booth, Chief Brad Moericke, and Anita Miller, director of the Sumner Community Food Bank.
City of Sumner
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December 06, 2018 05:06 PM

A homeless man in Washington is being praised for turning over $17,000 he found outside a food bank in August.

On Aug. 23, 32-year-old Kevin Booth stumbled upon a brown paper back outside the Sumner Food Bank in Sumner, Washington. He inspected the bag and learned that it was full of money, according to the Seattle Times.

“At first, I was like, ‘What the heck is that lying on the ground?’ ” he told the Times. “Then I was like, ‘Do I take off or do I stay?’ “

He decided to stay and turned the money over to the food bank, which he had visited in the past.

Anita Miller (left) with Kevin Booth
City of Sumner

“We were very, very surprised,” Anita Miller, director of the food bank, tells PEOPLE. “He said, ‘I knew it was for the food bank. It was a big decision whether to turn it in or not but I did because that’s stealing if I didn’t. It wasn’t for me.’ “

Food bank staff examined the bag and contacted police, Miller says. Police held the money, waiting 90 days in case anyone turned up to the claim the cash.

“We have no idea where it came from. They thought somebody left it on our door step that wanted to give it to us,” Miller says. “The police looked into it but nobody came forward. It was manna from heaven, I guess.”

After the three months passed, police gave the money to the food bank to keep. And staff gave Booth a portion of the money in gift cards.

City of Sumner

On Nov. 29, presented Booth with a citizen citation, praising him for his “selfless and honest actions.”

“Kevin kind of likes living outside. He makes the very best of it. He’s just a really cool guy. He’s always got a big smile on his face. We will take care of him for a long, long time,” Miller says of Booth.

“This has been just a feel-good thing. It lets everybody know that there are just special people that are living out on the streets.”

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