Community rallies donations for popular street vendor

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Sebastian Ibañez is blind and sells brooms and mops on Valley street corners late into the night. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) Sebastian Ibañez is blind and sells brooms and mops on Valley street corners late into the night. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
Ibañez has become a neighborhood staple, selling cleaning supplies to support his family. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) Ibañez has become a neighborhood staple, selling cleaning supplies to support his family. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
Because of a paperwork mix-up, Ibañez missed the deadline to receive help from the Salvation Army. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) Because of a paperwork mix-up, Ibañez missed the deadline to receive help from the Salvation Army. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
MESA, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) -

A popular Valley street vendor is in for a big surprise this holiday season. An acquaintance is raising money for him. 

Sebastian Ibañez is blind. Those who know him say he works very hard selling brooms and mops on Valley street corners late into the night. 

Thursday night, he set up shop at McKellips Road and Mesa Drive. 

"He's kind of known as the 'Blind Mop Guy,'" said Brandon Mitchell, who went to high school with Ibañez. "I think that's something he's really embraced."

Ibañez has become a neighborhood staple, selling cleaning supplies to support his family.

"That's been a really big challenge for him for finding significant work and finding consistent work," said Mitchell. 

But buying Christmas gifts for his three kids can be difficult.

Because of a paperwork mix-up, Ibañez missed the deadline to receive help from the Salvation Army. 

Ibañez often makes video blogs about his day. "These things happen for a reason. I'm yet to determine what the reason is," Ibañez said in his most recent recording. 

An answer he'll soon find out. 

Mitchell drove by Ibañez one day and wanted to help. 

"He's never one to do handouts or anything like that. He wants to work for his money. He wants to do something," said Mitchell. 

Mitchell set up a GoFundMe account and has already raised nearly $1,200. 

"I think he's going to be really excited and I think it's going to bless his family. I think it's hopefully going to buy some toys and things that they need, items they may need," said Mitchell.  

The plan is to surprise Ibañez with the money a few days before Christmas. 

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Lauren ReimerLauren Reimer joined the 3TV/CBS 5 family in June 2016. She is originally from Racine, WI but is no stranger to our heat.

Click to learn more about Lauren.

Lauren Reimer

She previously worked for KVOA in Tucson, covering topics that matter to Arizonans including the monsoon, wildfires and border issues. During the child migrant crisis of 2014, Reimer was one of only a handful of journalists given access to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection detention facility in Nogales, where hundreds of unaccompanied children were being held after crossing into the U.S. from Central America. Before that, Reimer worked at WREX in Rockford, IL. Lauren is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee and still visits home often. When not chasing news stories, Reimer loves to explore, enjoying everything from trying new adventurous foods to visiting state and national parks or local places of historical significance.

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