Thousand Ten Project makes impact in community


Walking down Oak Street in Seymour, a group of 15 people placed door hangers with information about The Alley’s services.

When they went up to one home, they felt called to do more.

They knocked on the door and were greeted by a man who has one leg and uses a wheelchair. He told them he has been fighting for disability benefits for five years, and his daughter is in recovery from an addiction.

The people pooled their money together and were able to pay the family’s electric bill and buy groceries.

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"His wife works, and it’s just not enough to cover all of the family’s necessities, so they were just completely astonished that somebody randomly came to their house on a Saturday afternoon and blessed them, basically," said Susan Tormoehlen, recovery coordinator for The Alley in Seymour. "They were like, ‘Are you seriously going to do this?’ We’re like, ‘Yeah.’"

The random act of kindness was a part of the church’s ninth annual Thousand Ten Project on Saturday. The original intent was for 1,000 people to come together for one day with $10 apiece to do good deeds for others.

This year with The Alley moving to a temporary location, however, Tormoehlen said the number of volunteers was down to around 150. Still, though, they were able to make a big impact in the community.

The family on Oak Street was one of three that Tormoehlen’s group was able to help Saturday.

"There was a need that really needed to be met, and I don’t think that family would have gone out to try to find services because they are a working family that is trying, but they sure did appreciate the reception of it," she said. "I’m very positive that his family was doing the best that they could possibly do."

Whenever the family looked through the groceries, the man’s grandchildren were excited to have cereal. They didn’t care what brand or type.

"It literally broke people in our group’s heart because it gave them this thought of you don’t even think about it like that," Tormoehlen said. "Every week when you go to the store, you pick up cereal and milk because that’s what your kids want for breakfast, not thinking, ‘I can’t get my kids cereal and milk this week.’"

The 10 groups each consisted of 10 to 15 people, and they were able to help three families apiece. Tormoehlen said it’s hard to put a dollar amount on what was spent to help others Saturday because several put in more than $10.

Tormoehlen’s group also went into Dollar General Store and paid for a woman’s items as she was checking out.

Another group met a woman who said she needed diapers and formula for her baby. When they went to get those items, they also bought groceries. Back at the house, though, they found out the woman didn’t have a refrigerator. So what did they do? They went out and bought one.

Another group went to Walmart Supercenter, bought $25 gift cards and handed them to customers in the store.

"What we want is, no matter how much or how little an individual has, they feel like they are part of giving back to their community," Tormoehlen said. "I feel that it blesses the individuals that are participating going out into the community just as much as it helps (the recipients)."

In previous years of the Thousand Ten Project, The Alley took names of people who needed help. This year, they decided to go out and help random people. 

After the participants, who all donned orange T-shirts, enjoyed a free meal and music at The Alley, they went out into the community at 1 p.m. and found people to help.

Volunteers came from The Alley, Freetown Christian Church, Brownstown Christian Church, Seymour Christian Church, Tampico Christian Church, Livingfire Ministries, Genesis Church of Seymour and Cornerstone Community Church. Many of them also come to The Alley’s services on Friday nights, Tormoehlen said.

"The Alley gives people the perfect opportunity to unify, to do a common goal, which is being the hands and feet of Jesus out in the community," she said.

That’s why the church continues to sponsor and host the Thousand Ten Project.

"Our hopes are always that other churches come and participate in it because it gives other churches the opportunity to do that," she said. "It gives us unification, it gives us unity within the churches and it pulls support as far as community support."

Event sponsorships and other donations made by local businesses and individuals help The Alley have funds to assist people other times of the year, too. The church started Charity Tracker this year, which allows them to connect with the families later on when other needs arise and guide them toward services.

That could include the Cops and Kids program, Sertoma Club of Jackson County’s Christmas Miracle, insurance, preschool and more.

"We’ve expanded as far as community relationships with outside organizations, and that’s amazing to be able to do that," Tormoehlen said. "Whenever somebody calls and we need that benevolence, we are able to Thousand Ten all year long. We try to meet every need that comes through our door."

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If you need help or want to donate to help others, contact The Alley by sending a message on its Facebook page,


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