Fourth grader’s desire to help Wheeler Mission results in 12 large boxes of winter weather gear

Data pix.

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. - Even though we've all felt that nudge to step in and help others, not everyone will put actions to those feelings.

But that's exactly what 10-year-old Alexis Ritter did this month. Her heart breaks for the homeless community in Indy.

"It makes me really sad," Ritter said.

Ritter said she came across some YouTube videos where people were collecting donations for people in need. She felt inspired to do something for her neighbors too.

"I just really wanted to help people," Ritter said as she organized donations of hygiene products at Wheeler Mission on Tuesday. "That's pretty much all I really wanted to do."

Ritter made a page on Facebook and asked people for donations. She said she was blown away by the response.

"I was at least hoping for two big boxes," Ritter said.

Instead, she packed 12 boxes and delivered them to the mission a couple of weeks ago. William Bumphus, Director of Emergency Shelter Services for Wheeler Mission's Shelter for Men, said they arrived just in time because they do have a need.

"More hygiene items, more clothing, more coats and things like that, Bumphus said. "It's also the time of the season where our numbers shoot way up."

Bumphus explained Wheeler Mission's Shelter for Men can go from serving 300 people per night to 400-450. That does not include how many women and children the mission will serve during the winter. They call the period from Nov. 1 through March 31 "Winter Contingency."

"We let people come in who may have been drinking during the day, we are more lacks," Bumphus said.

Bumphus said there was a point last February where every bed was full. Men, women and children were sleeping on cots and mats. Nine hundred nineteen people depended on the mission to survive that night.

"The biggest thing that we worry about during that time is someone dying on the street," Bumphus said.

Even a 10-year-old girl understands the importance of helping where you can.

"I wish they knew how many people are suffering every year trying to find a home," Ritter said.

As Wheeler Mission moves into their busiest time of the year, you can find out different ways you can help by visiting wheelermission.org.

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