Mesa woman honored for helping providing shoes to homeless

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Dennis Jent met Donna Parks a few years ago and was immediately drawn to her generosity and goodwill, and immediately started volunteering and collecting shoes to help Parks out. Jent reached out to CBS 5 to Pay it Forward to Parks. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) Dennis Jent met Donna Parks a few years ago and was immediately drawn to her generosity and goodwill, and immediately started volunteering and collecting shoes to help Parks out. Jent reached out to CBS 5 to Pay it Forward to Parks. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
Donna Parks donates shoes people in need at local shelters and rescue missions. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) Donna Parks donates shoes people in need at local shelters and rescue missions. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
(Source: 3TV/CBS 5) (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
MESA, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) -

Donna Parks has boxes of "gently used shoes" on her front porch. But they won't stay there long.

The Mesa woman is getting ready to donate them to folks in need at local shelters and rescue missions.

"It's not about me, it's about the simple, yet vital gift you can do for another person who may be down on their luck at the moment," said Parks.

[SPECIAL SECTION: Pay It Forward]

A few years ago, Parks created a non-profit called WAMMS, which stands for Walk a Mile in My Shoes.

Through her website, the help of volunteers, and a bunch of collection boxes, Parks gathers and distributes all kinds of shoes. In fact, she's provided close to 40,000 people with shoes in the past 10 years.

"The need for shoes and need for socks is huge," said Parks. "It's one of the most important items of clothing for our homeless neighbors."

Dennis Jent met Parks a few years ago and was immediately drawn to her generosity and goodwill, and immediately started volunteering and collecting shoes to help Parks out.

 "I call Donna our Arizona Humanitarian Rock Star," said Jent. "I'm the roadie, she's the rock star."

Jent reached out to CBS 5 to Pay it Forward to Parks and give her $500. 

 "I told Channel 5 that in all my years -- and I've lived in Valley for 35 years -- I've never seen anybody that can do the work you do," Jent told Parks. 

"On behalf of myself and Channel 5 and their Pay It Forward program. I don't know anybody in my life that deserves this more than you, so we have $500 from Pay It Forward to help you with all this great work."

"This is truly a gift in my heart and I'm so incredibly blessed," said Parks.

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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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