Courtesy Linda Wollard
Sewing Machines Don Wollard and Jay Reynolds
For many, Grandma’s sewing machine is a family heirloom: of no real use, yet too valuable to discard. Jay Reynolds of Bennett Springs and Don Wollard of Bolivar have developed a rare solution to that problem. Jay, a retired contract administrator with various power plants, began repairing and collecting sewing machines of all types and sizes in 1998.
His collection of 200 machines includes an 1865 Singer and dozens more machines from the last century and a half. Don, a barber who still works at his shop off the square in Bolivar, began a new faith-based venture several years ago. Through Abundance Ministries, Don and his band of dedicated volunteers collect and ship used items that no longer have a life in America—used wheelchairs, walkers, clothing, and sewing machines—and ship them to Central America.
“A sewing machine here is for a pastime or a hobby, like quilting or crafts,” Don says. “In Third World countries, a sewing machine provides a way to make a living.”
Together, Jay and Don have shipped nearly 200 sewing machines to future entrepreneurs in Nicaragua, El Salvador, and Honduras. Once in Central America, the machines are distributed through missionary programs.