A Noblesville woman is encouraging others to help those in need after creating a donation drive that collected more than 100 trash bags and boxes full of winter items for the homeless in Indianapolis.
Heather Van Dame created Project North Star, an initiative to collect winter wear for those in need in downtown Indianapolis and had an enclosed U-Haul trailer in the driveway of her home for the event that ran from Nov. 10-13. The effort allowed anyone to donate items in the trailer 24 hours a day and had a large star lit up on top, she said.
Van Dame said she and her family came up with the idea after volunteering in October with Circle City Relief, an organization that helps the homeless, and decided to create the event as a way to give back on a much larger scale.
Van Dame’s effort eventually grew as word-of-mouth spread about her initiative on Facebook and led to a total 108 trash bags and boxes, which were delivered to Circle City Relief last month by Van Dame and her husband, Rob. Now, Van Dame wants to inspire others by giving back just like she and her family did.
“It doesn’t have to be a big project – just let it be,” Van Dame said. “We can do great things on our own, but we can do better, and it can be magnified so much more as a community. It’s a privilege to help, but it’s our responsibility to help.”
Van Dame said people should pursue their idea no matter how big or small it might be, noting that individuals shouldn’t worry about the logistics that might be involved.
“Use common sense, use your head, use your heart and your gut,” she said. “When you look through the world with a different lens, it changes things.”
Van Dame acknowledged she was a little surprised by the number of items that were collected throughout her four-day donation drive but was confident l it would be a success. She plans to continue Project North Star again in 2023, she said.
Van Dame also thanked those who donated for their generosity. She added that she hopes that more people in the community will also step up to help others.
“If you know there’s a need that you see, go do it,” she said. “Do it because it’s the right thing to do. I truly believe that with a determined heart and mind, a voice and a just do it attitude, everyone can accomplish so much positive in this world, a world in which, in so many ways, is beaten down.”