Lexington woman distributes backpacks full of essentials to the homeless

LEXINGTON, Ky. (ABC 36) – After stopping to help a homeless woman by giving her money and clothing, Misty Mondelli still felt like she needed to do more.

“Four years ago I was homeless, and I know what God has done in my life and I want to make a difference in the community the same way God did for me” said Mondelli.

She started saving up extra cash from her paychecks to buy items to put together backpacks….leaning on her own experiences to create them.

“The way I thought of how to put the items in were things I needed when I was homeless. I have hand warmers in there, socks, hats, gloves, there are snacks in there, lip gloss. You know personal items like lotion, lip balm, you know I have some emergency blankets in all of them” added Mondelli.

She’s distributed more than 60 backpacks so far to the homeless in Lexington and continues to do so under the name Backpack Blessings.

“If I hadn’t been homeless and made bad choices and other things then I wouldn’t understand what it’s like and so to me it is a big huge blessing to me to be able to do it because it redeems my life.”

She has also received many donations and help from people who have heard about what she is doing.

One has even paid for a yearlong storage unit for her to keep the donated items in. Sozo Church in Lexington is also letting Mondelli store items there as she gets more backpacks.

Laura Carr with the Lexington Rescue Mission, which helps those dealing with poverty and homelessness, says the need for outreach on the streets is big.

“According to the last count there are 689 people who are homeless in Lexington Fayette County and I think 31 of them were not sheltered” said Carr.

That number is from this time last year and Carr says there’s no doubt it’s grown since.

She says she’s hoping more people start to give back like Mondelli has.

The Lexington Rescue is hoping to form some kind of partnership with Mondelli in the future.

Attached is a link to Lexington Rescue’s Street Guide for those in need.

“We can’t be everywhere all the time and so when you have folks like misty when they go out there when they see someone in need and they’re able to minister right in that moment then they’re really going to be able to help make that connection and it could really be the first step in getting that person off the street” added Carr.

Backpack Blessings is on Facebook now, with contact information for Misty Mondelli if you are looking to donate or help in any way.

You can find a link here.

Mondelli is also working to put together and Amazon wish list.

 

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