By Lindsay Doty
With every donated child’s coat or pair of warm gloves, Marie Dugan sees a homeless family getting some help this winter.
Dugan, a Lizton native, is the executive director and founder of Hearts for the Homeless, a small nonprofit that serves and distributes items to homeless communities in Hendricks, Marion, and Boone counties- along with a warm meal “and an open heart.”
On Thursday, the group will be making a stop in Brownsburg to collect much-needed items for needy families in the coming months.
“We are doing this in order to prepare for the winter months. We provide coats, hats, gloves, socks and blankets to the camps on the west side of Indianapolis,” explains Dugan, who operates the small outreach group out of her home in Avon.
They will be stopping to Fill the Bus from 5 to 6:30 p.m. in the old Kmart parking lot in Brownsburg. The donation wish list includes warm coats, thick blankets, gloves, bikes, tents, camping items, hoodies and sweats, thermals, batteries, flashlights, pet items, snacks, water, Gatorade, and hand warmers.
It’s one of several stops in Hendricks County this month. Instead of adopting a family, the outreach group takes the warm blankets and coats directly to the homeless camps.
“Our motto is ‘Sharing the gospel everywhere we go and when necessary using words,’” said Dugan.
She says when her kids were little they would always do something to help the needy around the holidays. She and her late husband wanted to continue that tradition.
One cold December night in 2016, they loaded up a truck with warm blankets and coats and delivered them directly to a homeless camp in downtown Indianapolis.
“My husband and I (who passed of melanoma in Feb. 2018) wanted to start a new tradition so we blindly visited a few camps with blankets one Christmas. God said keep doing it. It isn’t about the giving, it is about showing love and building relationships. I am very blessed.”
The heartwarming experience has grown into a weekly mission with meals, blankets, and more.
“Hearts for the Homeless was created to physically, emotionally and spiritually connect directly with those living on the streets. Our aim is to demonstrate God’s love to the hungry, homeless and hurting,” she explains.
The nonprofit is 90% supported by Hendricks and Boone county residents. The group did a Fill the Bus in Pittsboro and Lebanon last week. The group will be in Plainfield next week and at Energy Spot in Brownsburg (123 E Northfield Dr.) on Oct. 18. for Dine to Donate.
Hearts for the Homeless Fill the Bus
What: collecting warm coats and blankets for needy
When: 5- 6:30 p.m.
Thursday, Oct. Oct. 8
Where: former Kmart parking lot in Brownsburg, 975 N Green St.
- Thick blankets and coats
- Camping items
- Pet Items
- Water/ Gatorade
- Hand warmers
- Request for Boost drinks
Clothing items that are not on the list will not be accepted.