Avondale Senior Center Pays it Forward to 11-year-old girl devoted to helping others

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Senior citizens decided to Pay It Forward to Natasha Spencer, who helps out the homeless. (Source: CBS 5) Senior citizens decided to Pay It Forward to Natasha Spencer, who helps out the homeless. (Source: CBS 5)
For her eighth birthday, Natasha asked friends and family to give her blankets for the homeless instead of presents. (Source: CBS 5) For her eighth birthday, Natasha asked friends and family to give her blankets for the homeless instead of presents. (Source: CBS 5)
Natasha's kindness continued to grow, bringing her to the Avondale Senior Center where she helped provide gifts during the holidays. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) Natasha's kindness continued to grow, bringing her to the Avondale Senior Center where she helped provide gifts during the holidays. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
AVONDALE, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) -

Natasha Spencer, 11, wasn't expecting all the hugs and celebrity treatment when she stopped by the Avondale Senior Center this week.

But that's exactly what she got and with good reason.

"She could be out playing with her friends, or going to the movies or anything," said Doris Hedenberg. "Instead, she chooses to help the people she wants to help and the whole community is so, we're all overwhelmed."

A few years ago, the west Valley fifth-grader started helping the Valley's homeless by holding fundraisers and collecting blankets and other supplies.

"I came up with it because I would go to piano lessons downtown, and there would just be people on the streets," said Natasha. "I look at it like they are less fortunate than we are, and just because we're more fortunate, doesn't mean we have to keep everything to ourselves."

[SPECIAL SECTION: Pay It Forward]

For her eighth birthday, Natasha asked friends and family to give her blankets for the homeless instead of presents.

"I thought that I didn't really need a lot of presents or toys because people just need blankets," said Natasha.

Natasha's kindness continued to grow, bringing her to the Avondale Senior Center where she helped provide gifts during the holidays.

Now, the senior sewing club makes blankets and other items for Natasha to bring to people living on the street.

The seniors have been so touched by Natasha's kindness that they reached out to CBS 5 to Pay it Forward to the little girl with the big heart.

"I just want you to know what an inspiration you are to us," said Hedenberg. "You put your heart out to help the homeless, and through your helping the homeless, you've let us help you. We love you and support you."

"It is a big blessing what you're doing, so on behalf of Channel 5's Pay it Forward, and all of us, we'd like to present you with $500," said Hedenberg.

"I think that more people should help people that are in need," said Natasha.

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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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