By Matt Dutton Herald-Whig
Posted: Mar. 27, 2018 9:50 am
QUINCY -- Mary and Merle Tieken spent years collecting used wheelchairs, used parts, walkers and canes for children in need across the world through Children's Medical Ministries.
Mary Tieken is now partnering with the Crossing, which recently volunteered to store items while they accumulate enough to fill a truck load.
"This gives the poorest of the poor and their caregivers mobility, relief and hope," Mary Tieken said.
All the equipment collected is taken to Hope Haven International in Rock Valley, Iowa, where custom-fit wheelchairs are fabricated for disabled children and adults in impoverished countries. Hope Haven International has helped more than 130,000 people in 108 countries since it began in 1994. The organization is principally involved in Guatemala, Vietnam and Romania.
Chloe Lovelace, special-needs coordinator at the Crossing, said she felt a calling to help the Tiekens and Children's Medical Ministries.
"It was placed upon my heart to be involved," Lovelace said, "and it has developed into a wonderful journey."
In June, Lovelace will travel to Guatemala to see Hope Haven International's wheelchair factory there firsthand.
"I'm excited to go and see what all they do," she said. "I believe God has a plan for having Hope Haven be a bigger part of my life."
Hope Haven International is a faith-based organization that gives out free wheelchairs. Lovelace sees the ministry as a way of overcoming language barriers to connect with others. The organization, she said, shows "the love of Christ all around the world without speaking a word."
The Tiekens collected used wheelchairs and equipment from nursing homes and senior housing facilities across the region. With the Crossing's participation, individual donations can now be accepted at the Crossing's 48th Street campus. To donate a used wheelchair, used wheelchair parts, used walkers or used canes, call Lovelace at 217-224-6374.
"There is a need, and we're wanting to help fill it all over the world," she said.