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Great Hearts, Good People

Poor search for clothing in troubled times
Poor search for clothing in troubled times
Photo by John Moore/Getty Images

Walking into the fenced backyard at 5530 S. Calhoun St. in Fort Wayne, IN one might think they had been absorbed into a block party or social gathering. Clothes neatly folded or hung on clothes lines, baby items like beds and strollers, and some household items were all for the taking by anyone who might be in need of them. It was easy chatting with 3 out of the 4 women who organize Helping Neighbors FW. Their demeanor was laid back, helpful and caring.

It all started in 2011 when Laura Bunting’s baby was only 6 mos. old and she discovered that she really did not have time to prepare for a yard sale, yet she had many items she wanted to give away to those who could use them. She decided to have a giveaway in her backyard. After more than a few times of giving, others joined her either by donating items or to help. Enter Melissa Greenwood, JoAnn Bryson-Kane and Ronnica Hoskins. Together, their hearts grew to the tune of overflowing rooms filled with donations. They started to promote Helping Neighbors FW 4 or 5 times a year. They have special events over Christmas and Easter. There is a drive for Halloween Costumes in the fall and one for coats and boots in the winter. States Laura Bunting, “I just want to give back.”

Their clients are really not clients. Although they sign in, the hostesses of Helping Neighbors treat people like long lost friends. Folks just peruse the items that are out and take what they need. Out of respect, their “friends” stop by a table on the way out to show what they are taking. Marissa Greenwood says that some people might take things to resell, but that is very rare. They all have decided to never judge another’s situation.

Something demonstrated by these kind souls; money doesn't move things forward, great people do. If you need more information, go to their Facebook page, Helping Neighbors FW. Their biggest desire right now is for someone to donate a building to their cause in the downtown Ft. Wayne area.