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Paying it Forward in Mount Joy, Lancaster County

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This week’s quest to find someone to surprise with $200 from FOX43’s Pay it Forward, began in Columbia, Lancaster County.

Finding no luck there, we went to nearby West Hempfield Township, where we caught Evie Martinez and her daughter coming out of a grocery store. Martinez didn’t have to think twice about who she would nominate.

“We call her Mama Rose in our church because she is a mama and not only to the children that she has adopted and taken care of, but also to all the kids in the church and all the kids that have grown up there,” she said.

Mama Rose has nine adopted children, and countless others that she has helped to raise over the years.

“Not many people think about what could happen to kids if they don’t have a stable or an example person in front of them and it takes a lot of courage and understanding and a willingness to do that and she has all that,” Martinez said.

Our next stop was Mama Rose’s Mount Joy home to surprise her with the money.

“Hi! I am here with FOX43, with Pay it Forward,” Martinez told Mama Rose. “They approached me and asked me if I knew someone who does stuff for the community to give them 200 dollars,  and you were the first person that came to my mind, because you are awesome and everything that you do for the church and the kids is very much appreciated. So we wanted to come and surprise you.”

Mama Rose’s blended family includes foster children that she went on to adopt and her sister’s children, who she took in as her own after tragedy.

“My sister passed two years ago, so then I had to step in and do what I can to try to help along with her kids and I helped her while she was still living with her kids, so it’s a lot of kids,” said Mama Rose, whose full name is Rosetta Pearson. “We got a big family.”

She wouldn’t have it any other way.

“I just love kids and I think that’s my calling is to help kids that are less fortunate and need that extra help,” Pearson said.

On top of her nine adopted kids, Mama Rose is also helping to raise her late niece’s six-year-old son.