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Local nonprofit asking for community's help

NOW: Local nonprofit asking for community’s help

ELKHART, Ind. – A local nonprofit says it desperately needs the community’s help.

Michiana Pay It Forward says it’s being forced out of its office space on W. Beardsley Ave. at the end of February.

With no place to go, it could shut down.

For 10 years, Michiana Pay It Forward has encouraged random acts of kindness among all people but especially children.

“You’re basically doing an act of kindness without the expectation of a return and just trying to create that ripple effect of kindness in our community,” said Executive Director Debbie Micola.  

The organization surveyed children in the area last year and says nine out of ten kids said the world was a mean place. The executive director, Debbie Micola, says that statistic shows the nonprofit’s services are needed.

“The kids when you ask them, we want you to do an act of kindness for somebody, they’re saying, ‘Why? Why should I?’” said Micola. “They say, ‘If I don’t get anything back out of it, why should I do that?’ … That’s the mindset that our generation is at right now and we need to change that.”

Micola says this is the fourth time in 10 years they’ve had to move. The nonprofit relies on businesses to donate space since any money Michiana Pay It Forward raises is used to fund pay it forward projects.

A family donated the current space a couple of years ago but recently sold the building. The new owner intends to renovate but the plans don’t include space for Michiana Pay It Forward.

Micola says they’ve exhausted their resources but have yet to dins a space. She explained without a stable place it’s hard to carry out daily operations and help the other charities that rely on their services.

She says they would like a permanent, small office and storage space in the Elkhart or Bristol area but will take anything.

Micola worries what would happen if they stopped their efforts.

“We’ve went up to people in grocery stores to randomly give them a flower and stuff like that,” said Micola. “At first they’re kind of timid, but once we explain we’re just trying to do this to be nice, the smiles that you get from these people and hugs and tears from these people, it just really touches their heart.”

If you would like to help, you can email Micola at debbiemicola@comcast.net. 

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