Charles Lindsey and his wife, Holly, set out in 2002 to help the underprivileged by beginning their own nonprofit, Freedom Ministries. In 2011 they created Indiana Hope Bank, a sector of Freedom Ministries dedicated to helping the homeless by “providing help, hope and health through the giving of hygiene.”
“Freedom Ministries is simply about loving people, liberating people and leading people,” Lindsey said.
Regardless of age, gender, race, etc. Lindsey says that their mission is “providing hope through hygiene items” because there has been a lack of focus in collecting and distributing hygiene items at food banks.
Last year Indiana Hope Bank was contacted by the National Diaper Bank saying that they didn’t have a diaper bank in Indy, expressing interest in having the Lindseys head up diaper contributions in Indy, as well.
According to Lindsey, food stamps don’t cover hygiene items or diapers and these are the most demanded items. He said that they’re the first things to go at food pantries and also the least provided items. So their goal is to become the first statewide distribution center for food pantries to supply them with hygiene and diaper items.
While they’re currently helping to provide hygiene and diaper items around Indianapolis, the long-term goal is to be able to touch every county in the state, as well.
Since October of last year, they’ve given away well over 10,000 diapers and thousands of hygiene items like soap, shampoo and deodorant, according to Lindsey.
Lindsey said that they recently received a proclamation from Indianapolis mayor Joe Hogsett stating that National Diaper Week is Sept. 26-Oct. 2 and their goal is to get the word out and raise donations. While they accept all forms of donations, they suggest dollar donations because, according to Lindsey, they’re able to get more diapers for fewer dollars in bulk than if they purchased the items from grocery stores.
With the items collected, Lindsey says they’ll be able to help single moms by giving them these items that may then free up their finances to go toward other bills or purchases.
In addition, Lindsey also said that 50 percent of public school students struggle with hygiene. He said that the city of Shelbyville provides showers to the elementary kids and IPS is in need of hygiene item donations as well.
Lindsey said that when students go to school, they’re ashamed because they haven’t taken a shower, but when they have the hygiene items to clean themselves, it makes a difference.
“By us providing these items, we’re making a difference not just in adult lives or babies’ lives, but we’re talking about students,” Lindsey said. “There’s a huge unmet need that we’re trying to step up and meet … It provides hope to them. It makes an emotional difference. That’s what we want to do and that’s what we’re endeavoring to do.”
Indiana Hope Bank just launched an online giving project called #HopeforHoosiers where they’re trying to gain the awareness of 10,000 Hoosiers to give just a dollar a month to help provide diapers and hygiene items to Hoosiers statewide. Visit freedompeople.us to learn more about the project and to contribute.
Lindsey said that their goal isn’t to take away donations from other nonprofits like food pantries — that’s why they provide the items to the food pantries as a way of teaming up to help out. That’s why they launched the #HopeforHoosier project. Lindsey says that the donation is less than a Starbucks coffee for an entire month and could really make a big difference.
“We’re really excited about that, where people don’t have to feel like they have to make a choice and quit giving here or there but they’re saying ‘yeah I can give a dollar extra a month,’” Lindsey said.
Currently, Indiana Hope Bank is in the process of officially opening a diaper bank in Indianapolis. However, they’re looking for a warehouse to store all of the items. They’re currently running their operations from their home and the space is limited. In addition, they’re looking for potential board members and business partners to help launch their project.
“The need is there,” Lindsey said.