CLEVELAND — You may have seen “Walls of Love” around Cleveland—or even around the country. They’re typically fences filled with free essential items to help people in their time of need.
On Friday, the organization celebrated a very special milestone: the 500th wall— dedicated in honor of Alianna DeFreeze,the 14-year-old who was kidnapped and killed on her way to school in Cleveland three years ago.
Alianna’s wall is now at the corner of East 105th Street and Cedar Avenue in Cleveland. Everything on it is in Alianna’s favorite color—purple.
Purple hairbrushes, purple face wash, even purple fruit snacks.
Her family said giving back in this way would mean the world to Alianna.
“She’d be running up and down trying to put more things on the fence. Like, ‘Oh I like these socks, they’re my favorite color!’” Alianna's father Damon DeFreeze said. “So this is the epitome of Alianna, we try to keep her spirit alive in everything we do.”
“She was a very joyful child. She loved people, kids, she loved to get out and do things,” Alianna's stepmother WyTonya DeFreeze said. “Her smile made her. Her smile lit up the world. When it was dark and she smiled, you could see the light.”
Walls of Love started right here in Cleveland by Holly Jackson who was once homeless herself.
The wall is full of things like diapers, socks, hygiene products, flip flops and food—all free to take.
Jackson said she’s made it her life’s mission to pay it forward.
“Where people can come get these things and there’s no judgments, no stigmas, nobody cares why you have to be here. There’s no application or prerequisites to get this stuff,” Jackson said. “If you need it, just come get it and pay it forward when you get a chance to.”
And Jackson said that paying it forward doesn’t always have to be monetary.
It can also be kindness—helping someone carry groceries, or even a nice word or smile.
Walls of Love is currently in seven states and expanding to New York, Florida and Texas in the coming weeks.
Jackson said her goal is to eventually make it a global movement—so you can see these walls all over the world.
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