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PrattTribune - Pratt, KS
  • Pass It Forward finds new use for old household items

  • A few weeks ago a family moved to Pratt with nothing. After a few phone calls and word of mouth, they were able to get a bed, two dressers, a kitchen table and chairs, a couch and a washer and dryer to begin a new life. They paid nothing, signed no contracts, and didn’t even have to say why they were in such dire straits.


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  • A few weeks ago a family moved to Pratt with nothing. After a few phone calls and word of mouth, they were able to get a bed, two dressers, a kitchen table and chairs, a couch and a washer and dryer to begin a new life. They paid nothing, signed no contracts, and didn’t even have to say why they were in such dire straits.
    The household furnishings were provided by a Pass It Forward ministry begun by Walt Stockwell, who has for several years tried to fulfill needs when he hears of them, but is now working to give more structure to the program.
    It’s a simple concept: Stockwell accepts things people no longer want, makes some simple repairs if needed and gives them away to anyone who asks. If he doesn’t have what is needed, he will try to find it.
    As he was helping load a couch and chair for a woman last week, he asked her, “do you understand about the ministry?” She nodded that she did. There is no requirement, but recipients are encouraged, when they can, to “pass it forward” — to help someone else.
    Like the young hero of the 2000 movie, “Pay it Forward,” Stockwell believes in the goodness of human nature and is determined to change the world for the better.
    “I’m not trying to fly a flag or wear a superhero outfit, I’m just trying to help people,” Stockwell emphasized. “I think that’s what God wants us to do.”
    He takes his theme for the ministry from Jesus’ words in Matthew: “as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.”
    Stockwell has been on the receiving end of help.
    Walt and Lissa’s daughter was seriously injured in a car crash three years ago. The family was told she might never wake up, that she would probably never walk or talk. After weeks of hospitalization and months of recovery, LaNae now lives in Illinois, drives a car, works out at a fitness center, handles her finances and is a good mother to her baby.
    “We didn’t ask for help, but so many people reached out to us it was kind of overwhelming,” he said.
    Earlier in the winter, hearing of a family in need, Stockwell sent an e-mail to staff members at Skyline School, where he is head of maintenance. In a short time, he had offers of more than enough washers, dryers, stoves and furniture. He realized then that he needed more accountability to the program. A board of directors, chaired by the Rev. Stan Hendershot, has been formed to oversee the program, and plans are being made to incorporate as a non-profit organization.
    Page 2 of 2 - Jeff and Brian Taylor have donated the use of building space at 107 West Fourth, next to the Christian Food Bank.
    Donations of usable furniture, large appliances and lawn mowers are accepted. Stockwell has paid for repair parts from his own pocket, and although he isn’t asking specifically for money, it would help extend the program. They aren’t interested in taking clothing and small appliances, because those things are available at low cost from other ministries or local consignment stores.
    Items are available on a first come-first served basis, only when available, and with no questions asked. Stockwell relies on the good conscience of people to avoid abuse of the program.
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