INDIANAPOLIS — After a violent weekend in Indianapolis with several shootings and two stabbings, a group of pastors is sharing a new initiative aimed at stopping the violence.
"In our minds — now my only solution — is I've got to go grab a gun. Because all they're going to do is go grab a gun. Who's going to shoot first? Are we both going to be shooting?" Rev. David Greene Sr., with Purpose of Life Ministries, said. "And then innocent bystanders get killed — and a lot of it's petty."
Advocates went to Tarkington Park on the north side Monday to urge people to drop the guns and talk about their problems.
"When I see violence, and I see what the parents are going through, what the kids are going through, I pray. I labor," Lena White, a west side resident, said. "I pray over my sons every night, every morning, and I pray for the city of Indianapolis."
Using words instead of weapons is what they're preaching. And if you need someone to talk to, there is help by calling 211. A resource that the CEO of Connect2Help says a lot of people do not know about.
"Anything from basic needs: food, housing, utilities, to crisis services: suicide, domestic abuse, child abuse, and then everything in between," Ann Hartman, CEO of Connect2help - 211, said. "You need a job, you want to volunteer, you call us first, and then we can get you to the resources that you need."
Connect2Help - 211 eliminates the fear factor for those who are apprehensive about getting the police involved. Plus, it takes the load off of 911 operators and the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department so they can focus on responding to crime.
Connect2Help receives about 1,000 calls a day and has someone to answer the phone 24 hours a day.
"They'll direct you to wherever you need to be. Whatever your problem is, call them," Lena Webster, a west side resident, said. "They have all the answers."
Church leaders say they're trying to do their part by getting the word out.
However, to make an impact, White says east and west neighborhoods need to pull together.
"You can't have one church on the east side, one church on the west side, different organizations, we need to come together," White said. "When they see them come together, and it's like thousands of us, we can make a change."
This service is available across the state by calling 211. They have 26,000 services and resources compiled into a database to help with any urgent help you may need.