In November 2016 when Janelle Towne contacted a friend, the executive director of a local homeless shelter, about getting some service hours for her seventh grader, she never dreamed that within a few short months she would be the cofounder of her own non-profit organization.
After learning of two girls ages 13 and 9 that had been living in the shelter with their parents, Janelle could not get them off her mind. Christmas was coming so she asked to get the girls Christmas lists. The requests were so basic and simple that her heart was broken. Being the mother of five children, Janelle knew how much more dignified it would be for this mother to be able to pick out gifts for her children herself. So she sent out about 50 emails inviting friends to her home 2 weeks before Christmas and asked everyone to bring gift cards, wrapping paper and tape so that this mother would be able to shop on her own for her children and experience the joy of picking out gifts and wrapping them herself. The response was overwhelming… the aptly termed “Fill in the Gap” fundraiser generated $4900 worth of gift cards! These cards were spread out to all the families utilizing the shelter in order to buy Christmas gifts for their families.
In February 2017, upon learning that many homeless clients are placed into apartments of their own with just a mattress and a $500 Walmart gift card, Janelle knew she could do better!
She started a Facebook group and collected donations of gently used furniture and household items from local moms that were willing to join the cause. Within just a few days her entire garage was packed and there were more donations in the queue. She went on her first “client move-in” and was instantly hooked. Within 6 weeks, Janelle had finished three move-ins with four more on the schedule. It was at that time she decided to turn this into more than just a Facebook page. This began the process of collecting donations, procuring a storage unit, filing with the state and federal government to become a non-for-profit organization, all while still doing successful move-ins for families in need.
The goal remains the same to continue to take gifts from one home in order to create a new home for someone less fortunate…hence the name “The Home 2 Home Project”.