Brownstown FCA opens Shed for You community building


As you shop for groceries, think about those who may not have the means to buy their own food.

Pick up an extra can of vegetables and grab an extra tube of toothpaste and a toothbrush. If you are feeling generous, place several of those items in your cart.

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After you check out, stop by the Shed for You community building in the town parking lot along West Walnut Street in Brownstown and place them inside. Someone will come by each day to put the items on the shelves or in the totes unless someone who needs them takes them first.

Brownstown Central High School’s Fellowship of Christian Athletes chapter came up with the idea for the building containing basic needs for the community, and now, it’s in place.

“I think it’s just really cool because we’ve been developing the idea over months and months, and now that we’ve actually got the physical building and to see all of that happen and now we have all of the food in here and it’s ready to open, it’s pretty cool,” junior Abby Stuckwisch said.

The students came up with the name of the building based on how Jesus shed his blood for us on the cross, senior Riley Nuss said.

“He shed his blood for us, so we want to shed our donations and love to everyone else, and they can have what they need, too,” she said.

In FCA’s inaugural year, 2017, students began raising money to build a wooden structure that would give community members a chance to donate food and hygiene items for those in need to stop by and pick up.

In March 2018, FCA advisers Jennifer Shade and Barry Hall and students Halle Hehman and Emily Koch attended a Brownstown Town Council meeting to share information about FCA and the community building. Hall said it would have an 8-foot-by-8-foot floor plan with a pitched roof, a door and a 3-foot porch.

At that meeting, FCA received the council’s permission to place it in the town parking lot, which is in a safe, high-traffic area that’s visible and accessible.

The building recently was completed, placed in the parking lot and had signage put on the front and sides. The door does not have a lock on it, so people can drop off donations or select items they need at any time, no questions asked.

“What we ask as a community to support is to keep this going, so they can drop off items at any time,” Shade said. “We hope it will just run itself at that point, that people will drop off enough.”

Nonperishable food items are accepted. That includes canned vegetables, fruit and soups, boxed macaroni and cheese and other meals and peanut butter.

Personal hygiene items, including body soap, hand soap, shampoo, toothpaste, toothbrushes and feminine products; paper products, such as tissues and toilet paper; and laundry soap also are accepted. The totes will be labeled to let people know what’s inside.

There also are inspirational books in baskets on one of the shelves for people to take. They may donate those types of books, too.

Shade said they are working on receiving donations of eggs from Rose Acre Farms to give out once a month and also milk vouchers so people can take them to a store to redeem.

Clothing and fabric items are not accepted.

Sophomore Reagan Nuss is in the process of creating a binder to be placed inside the shed to give people a chance to write down household items they are willing to donate or that they need.

“If you do have let’s say a bed frame that you are willing to give to somebody, you can put your name and number and what you have so people could see that,” Shade said. “Then they can contact that person and get with them so we don’t have to handle those things, but it’s a place for you to advertise what you do have.”

A different FCA member is in charge of stopping by the building every day, whether it’s themselves, fellow FCA members or family members.

“They will put any items that are here, they’ll organize them, they’ll keep this place clean, they’ll make sure that nothing is wrong with the building,” Shade said. “It will get checked on every single day. Hopefully, we have people respect our building.”

Monetary donations also are being accepted so FCA members can shop for items to fill the shelves.

“We don’t know what will go first, what will be left here,” Shade said. “We don’t know what will go fast, but then if we do get monetary donations, we would go purchase those items that would fill this up.”

The first items that were placed in the shed came from food drives conducted by the FCA chapters at the middle and high schools. Local churches and individuals also have donated items and money.

“I’ll say it has been phenomenal because we’re just very lucky to live in the community that we do that supports this type of thing,” Shade said. “Our response has been mostly positive that everybody feels like this is needed and this will be such a great thing. We hope word of mouth quickly spreads and it gets used for the right purpose. Hopefully now, the community can run this themselves.”

She also hopes people are willing to help since the idea came from students.

“This has been all kid-oriented, and it has been their idea. That’s awesome. That this is kids doing this that care is just such a great thing to me,” Shade said. “I think it makes it even a more special thing because it’s teaching them community service. This is for our community, and the kids know that there are people that struggle and just want to be a little part of helping the community.”

Junior Kendra McCory said she’s glad to be a part of the project.

“I think it’s a good thing that we live in a community where everyone is willing to chip in for a good cause,” she said. “It’s fun to help lead that. Hopefully, it’s a good thing.”

Shade said FCA appreciates everyone’s support in making Shed for You a reality.

“We do want to say ‘thank you’ to all of those who have donated and helped us along the way. It wouldn’t have happened without that. We have very giving people around us, and we appreciate it,” she said.

“The biggest thing is it’s going to take our whole town to keep this going,” she said. “We started it, we planted the seed, but now, we need everybody to help us grow this.”

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The Shed for You community building is open 24/7 in the parking lot along West Walnut Street in Brownstown.

Donations of nonperishable food, personal hygiene items and other basic needs may be dropped off at any time, and those who need those items may stop by to get them at any time, no questions asked. Clothing and fabric items are not accepted.

Monetary donations may be mailed to Brownstown Central Christian Athletes, P.O. Box 159, Brownstown, IN 47220.