LifestyleJefferson Awards


From giving chips to those experiencing homelessness to running 'Centered Around Christ'

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Posted at 10:30 PM, Apr 25, 2024
and last updated 2024-04-25 22:33:36-04

INDIANAPOLIS — On her way to work about 24-years-ago in downtown Indianapolis, Glenda Hoffman decided to pass out bags of chips to people experiencing homelessness.

Looking back on that decision, she had no idea it would lead her to where she is today, as the founder and president of the service organization Centered Around Christ.

The chips she gave out were leftover from her daughter's after prom trip to Kings Island.

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Centered Around Christ

"I just thought, 'Oh, I walk a long way to work and I can just start passing out chips.' That's how I got my name on the street of Chip Lady," Glenda said.

"She used to work at the telephone company and she used to take coffee and then she started taking chips. Everybody calls her the chip lady," Ted Elkins said.

From chips to sandwiches, hot dogs, and lunches, Glenda even got her co-workers involved in making food and passing it out.

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Centered Around Christ

"Then I would go sit in the alley and visit with them," Glenda said. "What I get joy in is just actually serving, dealing with the people and trying to help people."

"There are a lot of people out here starving that can't find nothing to eat," Kim Daniels said.

Daniels lived on the streets of Indianapolis for 41 years. That's when he met Glenda.

"I used to help her out, follow her around and stuff, you know, make sure she was safe," Daniels recalls.

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Glenda Hoffman and Kim Daniels at the monthly hot meal ministry

Many of the people Glenda met on the streets asked if they could start going to church with her. From there, Glenda says she began paying for hotel rooms so people could shower. However, the cost of those rooms started adding up.

Seeing his wife's passion for helping others, Glenda's husband, Andy, bought a home.

"He picked me up from the airport. He goes, 'Guess what? I bought a house,'" Glenda recalls. "I told him, 'We have a house.' He's like, no, we bought a house for the homeless. So, that's how it started."

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H.I.M. House

The Hoffman's still have that house on North Sherman Drive in Indianapolis to this day. It serves as transitional housing.

Together, with the help of hundreds of volunteers, the Hoffman's run Centered Around Christ. The organization primarily serves people in Marion County who are experiencing homelessness, poverty or need assistance due to a disaster or emergency.

Glenda Hoffman describes how she started Centered Around Christ

Currently, CAC has two homes called H.I.M. Houses, which stands for Homeless Initiative Mission, where they serve 12 residents.

According to Glenda, one of the houses is a partnership with N.O.L.O., which stands for No One Left Out. The prison ministry is dedicated to helping men who are re-entering society after being released from prison.

A former resident of the H.I.M. House who dealt with substance abuse leading to incarceration anonymously shared his story with WRTV.

Glenda Hoffman describes working with her husband Andy

He wrote, "Andy Hoffman became not only a mentor to me but an invaluable source of inspiration to me as well. His tireless dedication to helping others, his willingness to go above and beyond without any expectation of gratitude, served as a testament to the transformative power of selflessness."

He credits Andy and the chance to live at the H.I.M. House with where he is today.

"Today, I own ten rental properties, five trucks, and four trailers and I have paid for everything in full," the former resident said. "As I look back on the journey that brought me back from the brink of despair to a place of purpose and fulfillment, I am filled with undying gratitude for the countless individuals who believed in me when I couldn’t even believe in myself."

Glenda & Andy Hoffman, Centered Around Christ

The work Glenda and Andy Hoffman do for hundreds of people in the community earned them the prestigious Jefferson Award for Multiplying Good.

WRTV met with Glenda, Andy and their volunteers at Calvary United Methodist Church. On the third Saturday of every month, they host their hot meal and clothing ministry.

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Centered Around Christ

At the monthly event, they have a shop-free store with bibles, toiletries, blankets, clothes, underwear, socks, shoes, reading glasses and other necessities. Hygiene kits, pantry and fresh food items are also available for free.

"She's just been such a blessing to me," Elkins said. "She has provided me with food, so much food, I can hardly use it all."

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Ted Elkins talks with WRTV's Nicole Griffin about Centered Around Christ

CAC also provides furniture and household goods to those in need. The items are managed and delivered by the PourHouse Welcome Home Team and two local churches to their clients who are transitioning from the street to shelters or permanent housing.

"We provide the basics, bed, table, linens, dishes, all the needs that you have when you first move into apartment with nothing," Volunteer Debbie Smith said.

Volunteers play a big role in the work CAC does for the community. The organization receives donations from many sources. All of those donations need sorted and distributed.

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Centered Around Christ

Other items come from estate sales. CAC works with Caring Transitions Indy West to help clear out homes.

"They're just an amazing group of people. Just to see what they do and how they give back, and they spend more time just giving back working for free than most of us do at our paying job," Paul Ellsworth, with Caring Transitions Indy West, said.

"He lets us have everything we need for the ministry, as long as we take out everything," Smith said. "So, we take things for Teachers Treasures, we take things for Horizon House, we take things for local re-sellers that have little shops, like here in the inner city."

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Centered Around Christ

CAC currently has a critical donation list. The biggest need is long term donation space.

"We would just love it if we could get a space, a space that was big enough for all of the things that we do," Smith said.

The organization needs space for freezers, refrigerators and shelf staple food donations. Ideally, Glenda says they need a space that is 1,800 to 3,000-square-feet.

"That's one of the biggest challenges for us just because furniture, obviously, it takes space to store it," Glenda said. Then we need an additional space to store the things that we can sell to offset the cost of the ministry."

Centered Around Christ

Other constant needs include socks, underwear and t-shirts for men and women. To donate click here.

Glenda says the work they do is challenging, especially for this many years, but she doesn't see the end in sight.

"Everyone always asks me that. I don't know when, until God says no, that's it's I just I can't stop yet," Glenda said.