When a member of Bethel Lutheran Church in Noblesville bought the house next door a year ago, the church’s pastor, The Rev. David Hill, wanted to find an additional way to reach the community.
As a result, the church turned the midsize house into a care center, and the first nonprofit to move in is Marilyn’s Place, “an everything-except-food pantry.” In the future, Hill said there may be more resources offered and other nonprofits might move into the care center.
Marilyn’s Place is a pantry stocked with clothing, toiletries, cleaning supplies and items other than food.
It moved into the care center in mid-May after facing a rising rent issue at its previous location on South Bay Street, about a mile from downtown Noblesville, according to founder Glenn Conn.
Hill reached out to Conn after learning about the tough spot Marilyn’s Place was in. The church and the nonprofit “clicked,” according to Hill, and Marilyn’s Place found a new home at the church’s care center.
Hill said the care center building was originally going to be used as something of a halfway house for recently released inmates as a place for those “who need to land somewhere so they can establish their lives,” or as a youth house. But he said when church members heard about Conn’s situation, it “really struck our hearts.”
“It’s just exactly what we wanted,” Hill said. “We wanted to have a ministry in here that would reach out into the community and fulfill a need.”
Conn said he loves everything about the new location. Marilyn’s Place is open five days a week and typically helps two to five families a day. The nonprofit was named after Conn’s mother, Marilyn.
“She has always supported me all my life,” Conn said. “You’re always their son or daughter, no matter how old you get. And she was always very supportive of me, and I just thought it would be a good way to remember her.”
Conn created the nonprofit because he saw a need in the community. He said when he started Marilyn’s Place in the summer of 2018, he couldn’t find another that offered similar services.
“I guess I’ve been wanting to give, give it forward, give it forward,” Conn said. “I really wanted to do something like this for a long, long time.”
The nonprofit is operated solely by volunteers and is donation-based. Every item is free for those in need. The nonprofit also holds a program where people can donate items, and Marilyn’s Place sells the items online for profit.
Conn said people are learning about the new location, including new clients. Hill said in the future, the church might provide bus service to Marilyn’s Place for people who lack transportation.
Hill said he contacted Hamilton County Social Services to have someone provide services at the care center a couple times a month. He also has reached out to an employment organization.
“If we can find people or resources to get them in touch with (organizations) that could help them, then that’s what we would want to do through this place,” Hill said.
HISTORY OF MARILYN’S PLACE
Glenn Conn, founder of Marilyn’s Place, became interested in social work when he was 18. After studying sociology in college, he worked in retail for several years before retiring and wanting to do “something on his own.”
Conn founded Marilyn’s Place in 2018. After three years at its location on South Bay Street near downtown Noblesville, a rise in rent forced him to seek a new location. The nonprofit moved into the care building at Bethel Lutheran Church in Noblesville in May after the church invited it into space.