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Woman who helps others gets $500 in return from Pay It Forward

December 22, 2011 12:00:00 AM PST
When Mary Martinez was asked who she would give $500 to as part of our Pay it Forward campaign, she said there are people all over the city who deserve it. But there was one person who stood out in her mind: Liz Garcia.

Garcia's husband died recently. She's struggling with diabetes and raising three kids on her own. She has also taken in neighborhood kids without a place to stay into her mobile home in El Monte.

Get more information on the ABC7 Pay It Forward campaign

We offered Martinez the $500, but with the catch that she had to give the money away to someone that could really use some extra cash. It couldn't be anyone in her family, that she lived with or an organization.

"She's always helping people, that's how I know her," Martinez said of Garcia. "My friend moved in with her. Everybody's always going to her when they need a place to stay."

We put $500 in Martinez's hands and she took us to Garcia's home, a mobile home park affectionately referred to by neighbors as "The Mansions."

Garcia wasn't home, so her son helped us track her down at a nearby strip mall. It was there that Martinez met with Garcia and put the five $100 bills in her hand.

"This is $500 for you, for your family, for the holidays," Martinez told Garcia. "I know you've always been having a hard time. You are always opening your door and your heart to everybody and I think you deserve it. I know nobody else helps you and everybody else always wants something from you."

Visibly choked up, Garcia and Martinez embraced one another.

"I'm thankful. I help everybody and somebody finally helped me," Garcia said."They just lost their dad and it's been hard, but we've been managing. Oh my God, it's crazy!"

Garcia said she is going to use the money to buy her children Christmas presents.

Get more information on the ABC7 Pay It Forward campaign


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