ABC News Corona Virus Economic Impacts

Strangers from across US step in to help veteran, family in need

"World News Tonight" viewers saw his story and reached out to ABC News.

Don Hayden of Pensacola, Florida, said he and his family had several other families reach out to them after they appeared on "World News Tonight."

On Wednesday, Hayden, a disabled veteran, was seen in a story on the evening news show describing what he'd encountered in the growing food lines that have popped up across the U.S.

"By the time I got to the front of the lines, after waiting for hours, our family wasn't able to get any food," he told ABC News in a video diary.

Viewers said they saw Hayden and wanted to do something quickly to help him.

"We were heartbroken and we want to help. ... We are donating $1,000 to Don Hayden and his family of five so that they can buy groceries or rent or whatever they might need it for," said Arleta and Phil Godwin of Montrose, Missouri.

Arleta Godwin told ABC News that she was a teacher and Phil was a veteran as well. She said they liked helping people and encouraged others to do the same in these hard times.

"Any American who can, find someone who’s in need and donate and help them," she said.

Gina Langel of Bridgewater, New Jersey, also reached out saying that Hayden's story on TV Wednesday had "really hit home" for her.

"I cried, I’m sure like most," she said. "I'm hoping that I’m going to be able to help Don and give back and you know try to get him some gift cards or some food there in Florida."

Langel said she has a mother-in-law, uncle and cousins in Florida who were also willing to assist Hayden.

"If he’d like a homemade meal, we’re more than happy to drive one over to him and his family," she said. "Anything I can do to give back and help. ... Right now life is about being kind to one another and helping and I think that’s most important. So I really hope Don is doing well and we can help him out."

Even Kevin Bushy of Howard Beach, New York, reached out to ABC News: "Can't do much, but would love to send a grocery store gift card to him and his family."

ABC News connected the families with Hayden and he sent a note of thanks to everyone who'd reached out via ABC News or just connected with him on their own.

"We didn't realize that our story would mean so much to people all over the world and we just want to thank everybody who's been generous and offered their assistance to our family," Hayden said. "I'd like to pay it forward if I get the opportunity for other veterans that are in the same situation ... as well as other low-income families that can't put food on their table."