Peoria grandmother Pays it Forward year round to help families in need

Posted: Updated:
(Source: 3TV/CBS 5) (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)

A few years ago, Bonnie Manske created a Facebook page called "The Children's Giving Tree" as a way to help families and children in need, especially over the holidays.

"In the morning, when you're sitting there having your coffee and you look at your significant other and say, 'I wonder how many people are smiling right now,'" said Manske.

"Can you hear them? Those are kids opening presents you got for them."

The Peoria grandmother's mission to make a difference started with her adopting one family for the holidays, providing them food, clothing and presents.

This year, with the help of volunteers she recruited on Facebook, they adopted 64 families including, a number of seniors.

"The seniors, after working all their life, they're the most forgotten," said Manske. "There's not enough housing for them and when there is housing, their whole Social Security check goes for their rent -- there's nothing left."

Cindy Martinez has seen her friend's generosity first-hand and hopes what Manske is doing will inspire others to do the same.

"I hope people will see what one person can make a difference -- what one person can do," said Martinez. "It can change the world, it can change your neighborhood, change people around you."

Martinez wanted to give Manske a head start on her goal of helping 100 families next year, so she reached out to CBS 5 to Pay it Forward to Manske.

CBS 5 was there for the big surprise.

"On behalf of Channel 5, we want you to continue spreading the good things you do and helping people that you do," said Martinez. "On behalf of them, we want to give you $500 as a start for next year."

"Manske is already planning to use the money to open a food pantry for seniors.

"You know it's OK to be good to people," said Manske.

Click/tap here to download the free azfamily mobile app.

Copyright 2017 KPHO/KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.

Jason Barry
Jason Barry has been reporting in the Valley since 1997.

Click to learn more about Jason.

Jason Barry

Jason Barry has been reporting in the Valley since 1997.

He is a nine-time Rocky Mountain Emmy Award winner who is best known for his weekly Dirty Dining reports, which highlight local restaurants with major health code violations.

Jason was born in Los Angeles and graduated from the University of Miami.

An avid sports fan, Jason follows the Diamondbacks, Cardinals and Suns with his wife, Karen, and son, Joshua.

His favorite stories to cover are the station’s Pay it Forward segments, which reward members of the community with $500 for going ‘above and beyond’ the call of duty to help others.

Jason, started his career at WBTW-TV in Florence, SC before moving to WALA-TV in Mobile, AL, was named the Associated Press Reporter of the Year in 2002.

Hide bio