“I want to make it clear to him that this isn’t a charity, but a blessing,” she said. “Willie is very loved. He teaches us that even when we are tired, we can smile.”
When Alysun Ogilby was given $5 by her church as a “reverse offering,” she knew exactly what she wanted to do with the money.
The church suggested parishioners use the money to bless someone in their own lives who they thought deserved it.
“You really can’t miss him! He is quite animated!” she explained. “Selling papers is kind of a thankless job. He works so hard. His attitude is always so positive.”
But rather than just giving him the $5, Alysun decided to use it start a small fundraiser in his honor.
The single mother-of-three had watched Willie enthusiastically selling papers every Sunday for years and knew the community adored him.
Hoping to help Willie buy a new bicycle cart, Alysun started the “Bless the Paper Man” campaign with a goal of $500.
“I have noticed that he rides a bike with a kid cart attached,” she wrote on the fundraising page. “I wanted to bless him but thought it would be great to give others the opportunity to help me.”
Little did she know, the community was about to rally behind Willie with far more support than she could have ever imagined.
Hundred of contributors came together to donate over $6,000 to their beloved paper man.
“I had no idea how far this would go. I could have only hoped,” Alysun said. “Pretty much everyone knows Willie. They rose to the challenge.”
“Every night, when I put my kids to bed, I speak truth to them and point out parts of the day where they made good choices,” she revealed. “I just started thinking … who tells Willie that he is doing a great job?”
Wille never expected such an outpouring of love and support from the community, and Alysun presented him with the gift the following Sunday.
Truth and Accuracy
We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.