Volunteers Pay it Forward to 'Mamma Jo,' 83-year-old Phoenix grandmother who helps homeless

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Friends and family wanted to thank "Mamma Jo" Phoenix grandmother for her 30-plus years of helping the homeless. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) Friends and family wanted to thank "Mamma Jo" Phoenix grandmother for her 30-plus years of helping the homeless. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
Don Mellon reached out to CBS 5 to Pay it Forward to Stevenson, then showed up at her home with more than a dozen friends. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) Don Mellon reached out to CBS 5 to Pay it Forward to Stevenson, then showed up at her home with more than a dozen friends. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
Every week, "Mamma Jo" serves up meals and passes out clothes at Phoenix's Andre House, a non-profit organization devoted to serving the Valley's most vulnerable population. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) Every week, "Mamma Jo" serves up meals and passes out clothes at Phoenix's Andre House, a non-profit organization devoted to serving the Valley's most vulnerable population. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -

She got one hug after another, and it wasn't just because Jo Stevenson, also known as "Mamma Jo," was celebrating her 83rd birthday.

Friends and family wanted to thank the Phoenix grandmother for her 30-plus years of helping the homeless.

"I look at them the same way I look at my family, because it could be me," said Stevenson. "It could be me out there."

Every week, Stevenson serves up meals and passes out clothes at Phoenix's Andre House, a non-profit organization devoted to serving the Valley's most vulnerable population.

Stevenson grew up in Winslow and said her parents would often open their home and provide meals to anyone in need. So now, she's paying the kindness forward, hoping her selflessness will catch on and others will do the same.

"I've never stopped because my heart just went out for them," said Stevenson. "To see the condition some of them were in, things like that, it really touched me and I wanted to do something."

Don Mellon is one of the many volunteers amazed by Stevenson's passion and purpose, proving that you're never too old to make a difference.

"She needs to be recognized for what she does, and I think this was a great honor to be able to recognize her,"said Mellon. "She loves people, she loves God and that's what we're supposed to do, love one another."

Mellon reached out to CBS 5 to Pay it Forward to Stevenson, then showed up at her home with more than a dozen friends.

"I wrote a story and Channel 5 accepted my story to honor you," said Mellon. "We're here to tell you how much we love you, and we just know you care about people so much, and that's why we call you 'Mamma Jo.' I call you Mother Theresa of Phoenix."

"This is from Channel 5," Mellon said. "This is $500 for you to do what you want."

Mellon matched CBS 5 and gave Stevenson another $500.

"Thank you for what you've done for us," Mellon said.

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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.

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