Tocci donates nearly 800 wheelchairs to the needy through the World Vision and Free Wheel Chair Mission
We know that there are men, women and children throughout the world crippled by birth defect, disease or accident. We imagine that they move through their day, perhaps like someone we know, by wheelchair or prosthetic device. In reality this isn’t the case. For over one hundred million poor, physically disabled people the options for mobility are limited to crawling or being carried — the benefit of medical invention beyond their financial reach. John Tocci was shocked by this realization but impressed that the charity, Free Wheelchair Mission, had undertaken the monumental task of righting this humiliatingly brutal situation.
Free Wheelchair Mission
Don Schoendorfer, haunted by the 1977 memory of a crippled woman clawing her way along a Moroccan roadway, distained even by beggars, set about to invent an affordable wheelchair that could be donated free to those unable to afford this humane luxury. A talented MIT-trained mechanical engineer, he spent a year, in his spare time, designing and building 100 affordable, durable and easily manufactured wheelchairs based on a plastic lawn chair, bicycle wheels and metal casters. Eventually he partnered with his pastor to strategize distribution of the wheelchairs during a missionary trip to India. He was dismayed to find that the shipping costs made this dream nearly impossible. Don took four wheelchairs to India. The absolute joy expressed by the first recipient moved Don to donate his life to finding a way to make his “miracle” and the “miracle” of disabled, poverty-stricken people worldwide.
In 2006 World Vision partnered with Free Wheelchair Mission to defray the considerable cost of shipping wheelchairs throughout the world. John, a long-standing patron of World Vision projects, leapt at the chance to assist World Vision meet a goal of delivering 16,000 wheelchairs on behalf of the Free Wheelchair Mission. Tocci donated 795 wheelchairs, in the names of its 2006 project partners, during the Christmas season.
Tocci has a year-end tradition of making a meaningful donation, in the names of its clients and associates, to a select charity. Past recipients have included Habitat for Humanity International, World Vision Inc., the World Vision Appalachia Storehouse and the World Vision New York City Storehouse.