Harlingen, Texas (KVEO)—Project Pay it Forward, a Rio Grande Valley nonprofit is asking for donations to continue its mission to directly help the community.
La Feria resident Alejandro Paz started Project Pay it Forward last October after experiencing financial strain as his family was battling COVID-19 and the effects of Hurricane Hanna.
“I went through it; I don’t want somebody else to go through it,” said Paz as he explained how difficult it was for him to get the help.
“I had to fall behind on bills. When I tried to reach out and tried to get some help from the community, local resources, they couldn’t offer me the help, and then they wanted so many documentations to get the help and I couldn’t,” said Paz.
Because of his experiences, Paz created his own way of helping the community. He took it upon himself to ask for donations and deliver to those who needed them the most.
He has helped people with everything from diapers to paying bills. Paz also organized a toy drive during the holidays.
Through his work and the help of others, he grew his efforts into a nonprofit organization, which he is now the director of.
He also opened a thrift shop where all the profits go directly to the people who ask for help. The thrift shop also serves as an office where members of the organization can help people with different types of needs.
“We have established a good group that helps Project Pay it Forward. Now we offer free faxing, free copies, free application assistance, free emotional support,” said Paz.
Project Pay does not turn away any need, all they ask is that the people use the help for themselves.
“We really want to be able to provide as much as we can for the public. Not only just for the people that are in serious need but maybe somebody that just needs a resume,” said Dinorah Ramon, who is serving as a board member and mentor to those at the nonprofit.
The winter storm has kept the nonprofit busy. Their efforts during the storm went towards keeping people warm by providing blankets and heaters to multiple families while going through the same struggles.
Now that power has been restored, they have been helping people apply for food aid after many lost their produce due to the power outages.
“After this winter storm, from Friday, Saturday, I’ve been busy nonstop, on the go helping them get those food stamps applications done,” said Kayla Vasquez, president of Pay it Forward.
While the nonprofit continues to help people during the ongoing pandemic and now the effects of the winter storm, they as are asking for donations.
They are hoping to be able to apply to become a 501 (c) organization, but after donating all their funds to those in need, they do not have the money to do so.
“Once we get our 501 (c), we can apply for grants, we’ll have more money coming in. And also, the local businesses and small businesses, whenever they donate, they can claim it on their tax returns,” said Paz.
The nonprofit is needing just over $400 to apply for that status.
If you are wish to contribute, you can do so through CashApp: PrjctPayItForward.