A 6-year-old girl has won online praise after stopping to help a crying homeless man she saw in the street.

Janiyah Lewis stopped to talk to the man in Norfolk, Virginia, and gave him the pocket money she had in her purse so he could get some food.

Her mother, 23-year-old Kenyatta Lewis, shared the photo on her Facebook page and it has since been shared by more than 180,000 users.

"After leaving out of the store today my daughter did something that really made me stop and think," she wrote.

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"There was this guy sitting there crying and she asks me 'did you see that man crying? What's wrong with him?'

"She gave him a few dollars out of her purse and her drink and said, 'Please go eat. It would make me happy. I like McDonald's you should go there.'

"I could tell she made his day. On top of that two more people came up and gave money as well. We had a small conversation and he explained his trailer burned down and he lost everything including his wife. I felt for him. It just warms my heart.

"A six-year-old led by example this morning. AWESOME ! Kids see no colour and that's exactly how it should be. It's not just a statement saying that the children are our future, it's a FACT. That gives me a little more hope for the world."

The pair have now started an online fundraising campaign to help feed and clothe more homeless in the United States.