Southsider Voice editor
As an 11-year-old who attended the Circle of Lights celebration in 2012, Kamsey Schneider was impressed with the festivities and the beautifully decorated Monument Circle, but not by the amount of homeless people that she and her family encountered while walking around Downtown.
Kamsey, now a freshman at Beech Grove High School, was surprised to hear that the homeless were asking for such simple items as gloves, and this touched her heart. “Here are these people with no homes, and all they want is some gloves to help them stay warm while other more fortunate people are asking for toys, clothes and electronics,” she reasoned.
The experience left a lasting impression on Kamsey, who took it upon herself to launch a program to help the homeless. For two years she has hosted fundraisers for the destitute, including one last fall at Wheels of Wonder Roller Skating Center in Southern Plaza. She also raises money by soliciting merchandise and gift certificates from shops and auctioning them online and by buying candy bars in bulk and selling them at a profit.
With the money raised this past Christmas, she was able to make 150 care packages, complete with toothpaste, toothbrushes, snacks, soap, lotion, blankets, scarves, socks, hats, gloves, bottled water and chapstick.
Her mother, Teresa Schneider, assists in the endeavor by picking up donations and posting requests on Facebook for contributions.
Donations have included haircuts from barber shops, jewelry, hair care products, a birthday party package and a JCPenny photo shoot. Kamsey’s mission is one that her family has taken on as well. Dad Nathan Schneider Sr., siblings Lewis Hobbs, Kirsten, Nathan Jr., Nolan and Keniyn Schneider, aunts and uncles all play an active role.
It’s a time-consuming process to raise money, buy items and pack them for distribution, but Kamsey derives much self-satisfaction from the undertaking. Accompanied by an uncle, she passes out the packages. They recently set up a table at a Downtown church, where others pass out goods every Saturday.
“Kamsey is an amazing young girl who has raised a lot of money this year to help the homeless,” said Tasha Ramey, a friend of the Schneider family.
Kamsey has taken on a noble cause and has had the drive to see her vision take root and grow over the past two years. She plans to sell more candy bars this year at school and in her neighborhood so she can give away more items to the needy.
Her generosity and concern for others has ensured that some of the city’s less fortunate have lives that are a little warmer and brighter.