Pay It Forward Anna, Melissa and Van Alstyne members have been busy the past few months. During the summer months when children were out of school, craft days were planned to keep kids busy. Some of the popular craft days were polymer clay class, button craft, fabric crosses, tye dye at the park and domino necklaces. Stand in grandparents took teens to lunch, coloring days at the library and swimming as well.

With summer ending, school supplies were gathered along with back to school clothes for many children.

Children got together and painted rocks at the park and hid them throughout the neighborhood. Some had gifts or gift cards or dollar bills hidden with them and a card was attached to post when they found one.

The group went out on Halloween and delivered sweet treats to many people in the community.

Breast Cancer Awareness found the craft group meeting to paint jars pink and add hugs and kisses to give comfort to those who have or have had breast cancer or other cancers. A class was taught on fabric pouches and about 50 pouches were made and given. An extra 25 pouches were donated to the Crafty Ladies in Melissa for a craft show in December.

Next they started collecting items that would be needed to prepare Thanksgiving Dinners. With the donations from community members, food boxes were given to more than 40 families. Local Girl Scouts decorated the food boxes.

It was then time for people to pay it forward to children who would not have a visit from Santa unless many helped out, so more than 40 children woke up on Christmas morning to find gifts under their tree.

Stand in grandparents gathered with children at Lulu’s NZ Bakery and made cinnamon ornaments to be given in the fabric baskets.

The crafty group of pay it forward members took a sewing class and learned to make fabric baskets for community members who enjoy a visit from them from time to time. The boxes were packed with little items that were also donated from community members. Over 40 people enjoyed a visit and a gift.

Todd Engels, PIF member, decorates his house every year and donations are accepted from those who view his light show. Engels donated his proceeds this year to PIF.

An ongoing project with Pay It Forward is the need for food. Brookshires teamed up with PIF to assure people in Anna, Melissa and Van Alstyne have food when they’re struggling with paying bills and buying food. Hundreds of food bags have been distributed throughout the community. Almost every week, food is given to someone in need. Teens who need service hours or just want to volunteer can often be found helping out with food pantry items. Rattan Elementary Student Council donated hundreds of food items from their food drive.

Pay It Forward members stay busy planning meal trains for those who are in the hospital or just need a meal when not feeling well. The community pulled gifts together for a young lady in the community who was diagnosed with leukemia. A group gathered and cleaned a garage for a lady whose husband was in rehab several weeks. While others put shelves together to hold donated food or pick up items and deliver to someone who needs it, others share what they have that someone else might need.

One thing asked for often is prayer and that is something everyone can offer each other.

Administrators for the PIF site are Toni Suitte, Carol Chapman, Dalia Escamilla and Stephanie Geronimo. They invite anyone who lives in Anna, Melissa or Van Alstyne to join the Facebook page and start paying it forward.