Pay It Forward: Ann’s Helping Hands

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PORT BYRON, Illinois-It is back to school time for most students.

For some that means news supplies, clothes and backpacks. For others, that just isn't possible.

One lady in Port Byron has been working for years to change that. Her goal to help others especially children has inspired so many others to give back as well.

To show how much she is appreciated, a friend wanted to surprise her and Pay It Forward.

We quickly learn Ann McCarrol is a busy lady... difficult to get a hold of.

"What is going on?"

"I nominated you for the WQAD Pay It Forward Award. (This is not fair guys) and, uh, well they picked you for all of the help you do for the community with the Christmas baskets, Thanksgiving baskets and the school supplies. So on behalf of Ascentra Credit Union, WQAD and myself we want to thank you and Pay It Forward."

"This couldn't come at a better time because we are working on school supplies for this."

A school nurse at Riverdale for 23 years, Ann says she saw a need.

"You see the kids that don't have anything and you see them hurting and you want them to look like everyone else."

Her effort to help has grown with Ann's Helping hands in Port Byron.

"The store has everything from appliances to kids clothes, to knick knacks and that just grew too."

Right now her effort is focused on school supplies.

"A new backpack they don't have somebody else's name on them."

It's all to set students off on the right foot the group provides school supplies and more for pre-k to high school students.

"This year we added shoes, socks and underwear to the school supplies and backpacks."

This is just a small part of how Ann serves the community. She provides food baskets during several holidays and lends a helping hand whenever needed.

"We have a very giving community out here , I'm very proud to live out here."

Each year Ann also hosts a Family Fun Day for the community.

This year it is September 7th from noon to 4 admission is free.

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