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Local third grader surprised by homeless woman’s generosity tries to pay it forward

A Waco third grader is paying it forward by helping feed the homeless after a homeless woman she encountered on her birthday surprised her with $20.

Jada Holmes, a student at Waco’s Mountainview Elementary, and her mother Christa DeBose-Holmes were walking out of the Richland Mall on Jada’s ninth birthday on Dec. 9 when a homeless woman who sitting on the ground outside noticed Jada’s birthday crown.

“We were coming out of the mall on her birthday and a lady stopped her and gave her money. The lady gave her $20 and I tried to tell her we couldn’t possibly take it and she said ‘no, no, no.’ She was so happy and told Jada that someone had just given her $100,” Christa said.

By the time Jada made it to her car, she was already asking her mom how to help those struggling like the thoughtful woman she’d just encountered.

“Shortly after my daughter said ‘we should feed the hungry, like the lady who gave me money for my birthday. She didn’t have much, but she still gave me something.’”

The mom and daughter began to fundraise from friends and family with the goal of passing out pizza and drinks to the homeless.

On Feb. 25 they used the $150 they raised to purchase pizza, apples and oranges, and water to pass out to the homeless across the street from the Meyer Center in Waco, where they set up tables.

They fed 40 people in an event they appropriately named “Pizza My Heart.”

“I wanted to help the community with Pizza My Heart Day because the homeless lady was nice to me on my birthday,” Jada said.

Christa said she wasn’t sure what they had to give what be good enough, but the reaction from those who lined up for the food said it all.

“I honestly felt a little bad because we only had pizza and apples and oranges and everyone kept saying, ‘I can’t remember the last time we had pizza.”

The young girl is hoping to make the Pizza My Heart day a quarterly event and is already fundraising for the next one.