Exit 0 hopes less talk more action helps in their attempt to aid the homeless Print

Volunteerism increases for organizations like Exit 0 through the holidays, but there is a need 365 days a year.
That’s why the group, which helps to meet the needs of the homeless in Southern Indiana, has launched its campaign “Don’t Talk About It, Be About It!”


“That’s always been our motto,” said Paul Stensrud, who along with his wife Michelle started Exit 0 a little over three years ago. “When we talk to people about Exit 0, that’s what we tell them. A lot of people are great at talking about what they want to do to help, but they are not doing the work that they should be doing to meet the needs.”
The campaign is an attempt to raise $10,000 to go toward paying for a building they recently obtained in Jeffersonville and the many other needs throughout the year.
“We need funding for fuel, insurance and stuff like that,” he said.
A lot of the costs are associated with a mobile unit the group obtained a few months back. They’ve converted an ambulance into a unit that is used nearly every night where meals are served under the ramp at Exit 0 in Jeffersonville.
Stensrud said he can’t put into words what a benefit having the ambulance has been.
“It’s actually a retired ambulance from the Ramsey Fire Department,” he said. “We bought it through auction. We are able to carry so many more supplies. In our personal vehicle we weren’t able to carry as much. Plus, when food spills, we can rinse it right out.”
Paul and Michelle’s own vehicle was the mobile unit before the ambulance was purchased.
Stensrud said another advantage is that the ambulance has electricity, which allows them to power things up like hot water for coffee and hot chocolate.
There is also a computer system inside the mobile unit and the group is working to build a database with emergency contact information for the homeless.
“The (database) is going extremely well,” he said. “We thought we would get some resistance, but they’ve really opened up to us with the emergency contact information. With the colder weather moving in, if something were to happen we can get in touch with their loved ones.”
Stensrud said the financial support not only helps keep the mobile unit  it will also help operate the building. .
“Our building allows us to take it to the next level, because right now we are doing everything we possibly can with what we have,” he said.
Exit 0 acquired the building in recent weeks and Stensrud said it will serve many purposes.
“We want it to be a place they can come to take medicine, get a meal, a warm cup of coffee,” he said. “We are not going to house them, but we want a place they can come and not be ran off. Right now, they are going into restaurants and they are being asked to leave. Even if they purchase food, they give them 10 or 15 minutes to eat and then they are being asked to leave. That doesn’t apply to me or you, but if you are homeless, that’s the treatment you get in some places.
“We have given gift cards to places where the homeless can go get a meal and get warm, but they’ve been told there are time limits.”
Stensrud said having the building helps with that and can also be a place for them to shower and possibly store a bag or two if they have a lot to carry.
The added expense of the mobile unit and having a building doesn’t stop the everyday operating needs of the ministry, which continues to increase daily. That’s why Exit 0 is hoping to benefit from people’s kindness and spirit of charity during this time of year.
Stensrud said they are looking for monetary one-time donations, or for people who would be willing to commit to support the mission with monthly support.
“We are growing very rapidly,” he said. “This campaign will help us do more with outreach with the homeless and be able to help them further.”
He said they are also asking for donations of goods, like paper plates and cups and things of that nature. There is a wish list of things the group needs on the Exit 0 facebook page.
“These are common items that we use within the ministry,” he said. “. . . We want to have what we need to be able to get them through the winter. We also hope that we have enough left over to help us get started  next year like we were able to do this year with the colder weather hitting before the holiday.
“We want to make it as easy as possible for people to help. If you don’t like to shop but want to donate, that’s great or if you like to shop and want to get something off the wish list, that’s great, too.”
Exit 0 helps to provide roughly 1,600 meals a month.
The organization schedules volunteer groups who meet every night under the ramp at Exit 0 to serve and provide meals for mainly the homeless in Southern Indiana, but there are also some low income people who come to have a meal, as well.
In addition to meeting the physical needs, Exit 0 works hard to minister to, and meet the spiritual needs, as well.
Stensrud said there are nearly 30 homeless people a week who attend church thanks to what the Lord is doing through Exit 0.
“God is good man,” he said. “We are waiting for His guidance. If He wants it to happen, it will happen for us. We keep trucking the way we’ve been trucking and when He wants us to change, we will adjust and go on.”
To get in touch with Exit 0, visit www.jesuscaresatexit0.org or send e-mail to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .
Donations can be sent to Jesus Cares At Exit 0 P.O. BOX 1315 Jeffersonville IN 47131-1315.
Stensrud said it’s an exciting time and encourages everyone to get involved.
“We want people to be part of a growing ministry and be the ones who makes a difference in the Community,” he said in a recent post on facebook. “Don’t talk about it, be about it! We need your support to help those who we serve!”

 

Last Updated on Wednesday, 21 December 2011 09:38