Larra Alford believes people deserve to be proud of where they call home.
“Four white walls with nothing to help you feel dignified is a shelter, not a home,” Alford said.
Alford is the CEO and founder of the Passion House Project (PHP), a nonprofit that provides household essentials to those in need.
But they provide more than the bare minimum. PHP helps people turn their houses into homes.
An uphill battle
Alford’s journey through life inspired her to create PHP.
After an unconventional experience with her primary education caused her to stop schooling at age 13, Alford obtained her GED at 28 years old.
“I spent several years at Ozark Technical College because I had to learn the information everyone else was taught from sixth to 12th grade,” Alford said.
Alford moved on to Missouri State University to pursue her bachelor’s in psychology with a personalized minor.
While she was in school full time, she was a mom of three and worked 60+ hours a week.
“Missouri State saved my life. Coming back to college played a massive role in my journey,” Alford said.
The beginning of something new
During her time at Missouri State, Alford worked as a volunteer and mentor for the Drew Lewis Foundation (DLF). She is now employed as a personal development coach, serving on the advisory board for the Northwest Project/RISE.
“Upon joining [DLF], I was deeply moved to see the work they were doing to support our underserved community. It sparked my passion for working with people.”
“I graduated from Missouri State in 2019 and now here I am in 2022 opening my own nonprofit,” Alford said. “Goals — big or small — are attainable.”
PHP’s warehouse and most current inventory have been donated by the Springfield community.
“Everything has just fallen into place,” Alford remarked. “We have the kindest community.”
Unfortunately, a devastating break-in and robbery forced PHP to postpone their grand opening from July 2022 to 2023.
“We won’t give up,” Alford said. “We can’t wait to help people transform their houses into homes.”
How can you help?
If you want to help the Passion House Project, you may donate items, time or funds.
Donations should be new or gently used. In addition to furniture, PHP accepts:
- Kitchen supplies.
- Cleaning supplies.
- Bedding materials.
PHP is always searching for partners and volunteers.
Growing onward and upward
The current PHP team consists of Alford and wife, Tess Alford, along with their three children.
“I’m a big dreamer and I want us to grow as quickly as possible,” Alford said.
Alford wants to set up as many PHP locations throughout southwest Missouri as their resources allow.
For those who are itching to start their own nonprofit, Alford offers sage advice:
“Keep dreaming. Keep chasing. Follow your dream. One day soon, your goals will become reality.”