Pay It Forward free store holds last open house before the holidays

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STEPHENS — The Pay It Forward free store on the edge of Columbia is holding the last open house of the year 2-7 p.m. today. 

The "store" collects clothing, toys, and baby neccessities for those in need in the community. Sylvia Sprinkle came up with the idea two years ago after her friend came upon hard times and Sprinkles saw her struggle to find help. 

Once she started spreading the word, she quickly realized plenty of people were willing to help their neighbors. 

"We ended up getting so many donations, we decided 'let's just do a free store'," said Sprinkle. The Stephens Community Center offers up its space to Pay It Forward on the second and fourth Wednesday of every month. 

Sprinkle recieves referrals from the Red Cross for local fire victim families. She also advocates for homeless veterans. 

Wednesday's open house will include a Christmas party for the kids, 5-7 p.m. 

"It's just a fun little party for the kids so they can just enjoy themselves and run around," Sprinkle said. 

Sprinkle said anyone in need of help is welcome to shop the free store, located at 1680 County Road 276 in Columbia. 

Pay It Forward is most in need of donations of beds, sofas and kitchen tables for fire victims.