Small town honors neighbor who always helps those in need

Anita Wilson uses her Circle Of Love ministry to help others

PAISLEY, Fla. – The small town of Paisley, in northern Lake County, borders the Ocala National Forest. With a population of less than 1,000, neighbors say everyone here knows each other.

But for many, one person stands out. 

Anita Wilson has earned a reputation as someone who is always there to help.

On a stormy Saturday afternoon, the community gathered to honor her. 

"I'm overwhelmed," Wilson said as she stepped through the doorway of the Paisley Community Center.

About three dozen people stood and clapped as she entered. Balloons bounced off the ceiling and signs that read, "Paisley loves Anita" were scattered throughout the space.

"I'm very overwhelmed that someone would put this together, but it's not all about me. It's about this community," Wilson said.

Moments later, Wilson made her way through the crowd, hugging each person.

"Paisley is a hugging town," she laughed.

Wilson has made such a big impression on everyone because of what she calls her Circle of Love Ministry. She collects and distributes food, clothing and hygiene items, offering them to anyone who needs them.

"I'm just a vessel," she explained. "People donate in this hand and I find a home for whatever it is they donated with the other. That's what I do."

"She's fed a lot of hungry people," James Miller said. "When you think of Paisley, you think of Anita Wilson."

His sentiment was often repeated.

Wilson was nominated for the News 6 Getting Results Award by Alecia Eggebrecht.

"I wanted people to know that in our small town there are great people who go out of their way to help others. She's getting results," Eggebrecht said.

It was Eggebrecht's idea to throw the party and collect items for Wilson's ministry. Wilson estimated that they collected a month's worth of cleaning and hygiene items, as well as more than $100 that will be used to purchase food.

"I'm still shocked," Wilson said. "I know people here, and I know they come out for things. Today, they're coming out for other people, and that's what it's all about."   

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