Woman who was helped through hard times returns the favor to others

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- One woman is paying it forward after benefiting from a program that helps people down on their luck. After getting back on her feet, Asia Townsend is helping other people who find themselves in the same situation.

Five years ago Asia’s life was falling apart.

“I was in tears. I`d just lost my job and I had to pay my bills so Christmas was going to be the last thing,” she said.

She turn to the Independence School District and a program called ‘Holiday Helpers’ where people get gift cards for Christmas gifts and food in exchange for volunteering their time.

“I called the school and for them to say `yeah, we`ll help you.’ I was like thank you Lord, thank you Lord,” she said.

“This program allows our families to jump into our schools, get involved, volunteer, and in return we can empower them by giving the gift of providing Christmas,” foundation director Alli Kisner said.

Fast forward to today, Asia has opened a clothing closet. It's to help those who find themselves in the same position Asia did five years ago.

“The same generosity the district showed me, I was able to pay it forward to just about anyone who wants to come to the closet and receive it,” she said. “It`s amazing when, how can I say, when people are being so kind and not expecting anything in return... you want to do more.”

“Asia’s experience is really what Holiday Helpers is all about. She had a chance to improve her life, and now is able to give back,” Superintendent Dale Herl said.

Not only providing for her kids, but being a role model .

“I just want my kids to give back. I have one wanting to be a nurse, one wanting to be a teacher, one wanting to be a police officer. All of those fields are helping others. That`s all I want them to do,” Asia said.

Asia's success story just one way Holiday Helpers is making a difference in the community.

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