A single mom of three in Elizabethtown took the initiative to begin collecting items for the homeless around Thanksgiving. Christin Braden said the outpour of support she has received so far for the Homeless Project, especially from her Nicholas Ridge Subdivision neighborhood, has been phenomenal.
The University of Louisville nurse passes a homeless community in Louisville almost every day on her way to and from work. When the weather began getting colder, Braden said she felt called to do something for these people.
“I told my friend Andi (Tonietti) it was like God just told me to do something,” she said. “I went to her and I said, I feel like I’ve been called to do this.”
After encouragement from Tonietti and checking with her daughters – Rheagan, Ryleigh, and Rheese – Braden said they started throwing ideas together. Tonietta reached out to the Nicholas Ridge Subdivision on their Facebook page and it blew up from there.
“It has really taken off considering it has only been a few weeks,” Braden said. “We’ve decided that we want to start doing this on at least an annual basis around the holidays, but even more so throughout the year because obviously these people are affected by this on a daily basis.”
Working in the labor and delivery department at the hospital, Braden said the number of pregnant patients that come in that are homeless and get discharged onto the streets with nowhere to go is “terrifying.”
“You really start to think that any of us could be one decision or one job loss or whatever from where these people are,” she said. “I know it doesn’t do a whole lot, but if I can help who I can help with what I can it’s making a difference to at least those people.”
With all the donations, as of Tuesday, Braden had been able to make about 50 food packs and more than 40 drawstring bags comprised of a variety of toiletries, as well as masks, hand sanitizer, scarves, gloves, and hats. Some people have also donated tents and coats.
“We’re just constantly adding to it and I’m like the more that I get the more bags that I’ll make,” she said. “People have been so generous to help with our cause. It’s just been overwhelming the outreach that people have been willing to do so I can’t wait to see how big we are able to go.”
Braden said the majority of what they had collected so far came from the Nicholas Ridge Subdivision.
“I’m glad to be in a neighborhood where it is family. Even you though you don’t always know your immediate neighbors, we all team up together, we all look out for each other,” she said.
Braden said they had plans to disperse items to the homeless population in Louisville as well as in Elizabethtown.
If she can get to where she can hand the kits out every month, then she’s handing them out every month, Braden said.
“The way I look at it is this need is 100 percent of the time,” she said. “It really is a need. It is a need in our community and Louisville, pretty much any community.”
If anyone would like more information about the project or would like to donate, they can reach Braden at 270-320-2053 or email@example.com.