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Paying It Forward To: The Free Taxi Driver

OQUAWKA, Illinois - Kay Stevenson is not your typical taxi driver.

"There's people out there that really need the help," Stevenson said.

She drives people all around the area, everywhere from Iowa City to Oquawka, Burlington to the Quad Cities, and she does it for free.

"There's just no reason for compensation," Stevenson said. "I've been very blessed. I guess I just feel like I like to help people. I wish I could do it more."

Stevenson, a United Methodist Church member, also gives back by volunteering at the Henderson County Food Pantry, where people can get food twice a week.

Four years ago, Stevenson met Pastor Jon Warren through her church. Wednesday, April 12, Warren told Stevenson he needed a ride to the food pantry because he had a food donation for her. Not only did he give food to the pantry, he also surprised her with $300 for the Pay It Forward Award, for doing good things in the community.

Stevenson says she gets her generosity from her husband, Wendell, who died of a heart attack in 2007. Now she plans on using the $300 from Ascentra Credit Union, to buy food for the pantry.

"There's always somebody that needs help, whether it's food, or gas money," Stevenson said. "Working in the pantry is rewarding, but it's sad.  Times aren't easy for people."

The food pantry is located in the Henderson County Housing Authority complex on Mercer Street in Oquawka. It's open from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Mondays and Thursdays only. If you know of someone doing great things in the community, consider nominating them for the Pay It Forward Program by clicking here.