Kokomo Peace Watch launches ‘The Giving Store’

KOKOMO, Ind. -- A neighborhood watch in Kokomo is looking to take community improvement to the next level.

Take a look at the building on 801 W. Jefferson Street and you might think it doesn’t look like much, but for the Peace Watch and its founder Chris Wendt, the storefront is a community jewel.

“This isn’t about us making profit. This is about helping the community,” Wendt said.

Peace Watch is a neighborhood group that patrols Kokomo streets. One day, while they were hosting a food drive, he noticed there was a lot of donations that were coming in that weren’t food.

“People started dropping off boxes and stuff outside of my house. And we got to the point where I had a garage full of books, clothing, toiletries and diapers,” he said.

Recognizing community needs, the group set out to create a community resource. The Giving Store was born.

“The landlord has rented it to us (the building) so cheaply that we can now sell clothing for a quarter, sell books for a nickel,” he said.

Technically there is a price for everything, but it only takes about a minute to realize that the prices are flexible. As Wendt put it, if you really need it, you can have it.

“We’re anticipating a grand opening where we’ll be able to give away half of this stuff. When I say that I mean the day is going to start out a quarter per piece of clothing, by noon it’s going to maybe be 50 cents a bag, by 2 o’clock, take it, and get it out of here,” he said.

Technically the giving store doesn’t officially open until Saturday but Peace Watch isn’t turning down early customers. Neighbors are applauding the efforts.

Wendt says Peace Watch is currently working on getting a 501C3 to help get state and local funds. He says despite The Giving Store not technically being open, they’re already looking to open a second one.

The Giving Store is located at 801 W. Jefferson Street in Kokomo.