‘Feel the joy of filling wishes’: Lawrence County business gives back to kids in need

Published: Dec. 2, 2020 at 7:49 PM EST
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INEZ, Ky. (WYMT) - When Angela Messer and her husband opened Ma and Pa’s Pizza Place in July, many people were concerned about that decision based on the pandemic. But the couple wanted to do something to get back to the community they love.

“I have always loved this community. It’s always been a really tight group of people who are there whenever anybody has a bad time,” said Messer.

A blessing box was quickly created outside of the business, offering food and other items to people in need. But, according to Messer, that outreach was not enough.

She wanted to do something for kids during Christmas, so she started a new project. The “Wish Wall” combines the popular Angel Tree project with another program her family did years ago.

“It’s a hands-on thing. You know, if you want to do it, get you a name and go shopping,” Messer said. “You feel the joy of filling those wishes.”

When people enter the store, they can sponsor a child by taking a Christmas card from the wall. Each card has the basic information of a local child, including their Christmas wish list.

Those participating will then buy some gifts for the child and bring them back to the restaurant where the gifts will be given to families before Christmas.

“People say that people don’t want to do good anymore. People do want to do good, they just don’t know how,“ Messer said. “They need someone to organize it and get it together. And if you give them a platform, they will blow your mind.”

According to Messer, the community response has been overwhelming. She said there are only a few children out of more than 20 who are waiting for someone to grant their wishes.

“The community makes it work. You know, we just provide a space to do it. And I think it’s amazing, said Messer. “It shows just what a wonderful community this is.”

Messer hopes other businesses will follow suit to spread the cheer.

“Hopefully, somebody will see this and they’ll think, ‘hey, we have a little shop’ or ‘we have an outlet or wall somewhere.’ And they’ll take it upon themselves to figure out a way to make Christmas, or any time, a little bit better for somebody else,” she said.

A Santa Claus event is planned at the restaurant for Monday, Dec. 7, from 3 p.m. until 6 p.m. Messer said the event will follow pandemic safety guidelines and free hot chocolate will be provided. She said that will also be a good time to pick or add a child.

Sponsors are asked to have their gifts in by December 21.

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