North Phoenix community determined to give homeless woman 'proper send-off'

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(Source: 3TV/CBS 5) (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
(Source: 3TV/CBS 5) (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
(Source: 3TV/CBS 5) (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
(Source: 3TV/CBS 5) (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) (Source: Living Streams Church) (Source: Living Streams Church)

A Phoenix community is coming together to celebrate the life of a homeless woman known to their neighborhood and give her the burial they believe she deserves.

According to police, Anita Collins, 52, wandered into traffic on Glendale Avenue near Second Street in Phoenix and was hit by a car earlier this month. She was rushed to the hospital where she died.

Her death had a profound impact on the neighborhood.

[ORIGINAL STORY: Community rallies after death of homeless woman in neighborhood]

A planning committee 50 people strong is putting together a community memorial and reception at Our Savior's Lutheran Church (1212 E. Glendale Ave.)on Saturday, Nov. 4 at 2 p.m.

“Thanks to everyone that has stepped up,” Connie Peretz, who is part of the effort, posted on NextDoor, a private social network specifically for neighborhoods. “What an amazing community we are a part of!”

There have been countless NextDoor posts about Collins and her death.

Many of the entries tell stories of people seeing her nearly every day somewhere along Glendale Avenue. Other comments talk about people offering her water or food and how mild-mannered and quiet she was. 

One described Collins as “a gentle spirit.”

What's clear is that Anita Collins touched more lives than she knew.

“People don’t want to just see her thrown away because she is part of our landscape,” Tina Lopez, who lives in the area, said. “She is part of our community and we want to make sure that she has dignity and that she’s not an invisible piece of the landscape. She was a part of our thread of who we were as a neighborhood and I think that people really want to make sure that she has a proper a proper burial and a proper send-off.”

Living Streams Church is collecting tax-deductible donations to cover the memorial and reception for Collins. (An account is not required.) Any money left over will be donated to I-HELP Sunnyslope, a faith-based community initiative that “assists in the efforts to reduce the number of individuals experiencing homelessness within their community.”

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