A passion for people

By Chelsea Quackenbush White
Photo by Lauren Hollon Sturdy

DALLAS – As Rita Stapp stirs cream and sugar into her steaming mug of coffee, carefully poised at her grand dining room table, it’s clear as she talks that she cares about people.

She’s talking about a movie she saw recently at the Angelika Theater in Dallas – “The Lemon Tree.” As she explains the plot and the inevitable sad outcome, she shakes her head and pauses: “It just comes down to people,” she says. “Everyone needs a family.”

Stapp and her husband were an “ordinary couple with ordinary means.” When her husband was alive, they would drive to Glen Rose on Sunday afternoons after church. After he passed, she continued to make the drive, often with her puppy.

One afternoon, as she visited Glen Rose to grieve and heal, she stopped by a real estate office to inquire about a plot of land she and her husband used to look at. It stood unsold for many years and with no intention of buying, she walked into the office to find out why no one wanted the property.

The agent took her on a drive to that property and one other. As soon as she stepped out of the car, she fell in love.

“Something just tugged at my heart,” she says.

About six months later, she bought the property with a small amount of money left to her by her grandmother. She and her puppy made the drive and camped out on the land. It was a place where she felt close to the Lord and close to her husband. It was a healing place.

She eventually paid off the land and was able to build a house. She named the property Canaan, as in the Bible and after the popular Jan Karon Mitford book series.

Stapp’s passion for helping people and families led her to give a generous gift of land she acquired in Glen Rose, Texas, to benefit Buckner. The ten-acre plot could serve a variety of purpose – retreat center, foster home or group home – but only the Lord knows who will find healing there, Stapp says.

As a member of Park Cities Baptist Church, Stapp's Sunday school teacher was Dr. Ken Hall, former Buckner President and CEO. She felt Hall’s passion for children and for Buckner and soon she, too, was hooked. Stapp has given the land as a bequest to Buckner through her will, and she continues to make financial gifts to Buckner in addition to her Glen Rose property.

Let Buckner help you accomplish your philanthropic goals, like Rita Stapp did. Contact the office of planned giving at 214-758-8054 or toll free at 800-442-4800 ext. 808054.

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