Boston police honored Glen James for his good deed on Monday, awarding him with a special citation and thanking him for an "extraordinary show of character and honesty."
In a handwritten statement he handed out at a news conference, James said he's glad the bag and its contents were returned to the rightful owner. He said he would not have kept even a penny from the bag - no matter how desperate he was for money.
In addition to the police honor, James is receiving generous donations from strangers who want to help him.
Among them are two kids from Bedford, who are giving up money they've saved up for toys. The kids eared about $200 from doing chores around their house. They said they want to donate it all to James.
Others are pitching via a donation page set up on the website, www.gofundme.com. Ethan Whittington heard James' story and set up the page. The initial goal was $50,000, but that number was surpassed in just one day. By Wednesday morning, the page received more than $66,000 in donations.
James, who said he used to work as a file clerk in the Boston municipal court system employee, found the backpack on Saturday night. He turned it over to a police officer. The bag contained $2,400 in cash, almost $40,000 in traveler's checks, Chinese passports and other personal papers.
The bag's owner told workers at an area Best Buy and called police, who then brought the owner to a nearby police station and returned the backpack to him after confirming it really belonged to him.
According to authorities, the backpack's owner did not want his identity revealed. He said he is a Chinese student who was visiting another student in Boston.
James said he has been homeless since 2005. He said he worked for the court system for 13 years but lost his job and became homeless after having problems with his boss. He added that it's difficult for him to hold down a job because he has Meniere's Diseases.
He said he doesn't want to be a burden to his relatives and he receives help from people at the shelter. He says he gets by with food stamps and panhandles for money to do laundry, pay for transportation and buy other necessities.
ABC News contributed to this report.