Paying it forward: Group uses Lime scooters to help with homeless outreach

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — On any given night, James and Jackie Voss, along with Andrea Manning can be found somewhere in the city stuffing Lime scooters into their white minivan.

The three aren’t part of an electric scooter theft ring, but rather part of the group of Hoosiers who make extra money by charging the scooters on a nightly basis.

While the job is common, it’s what the group is doing with the money they earn charging scooters that’s sets them apart.

“I’m always looking for ways to fund what we need, blankets, hygiene, stuff, without reaching out to other people,” James said.

Together, the group makes up the nonprofit We Are Family Indy, a homeless outreach organization. The Vosses and Manning use the money they collect from charging scooters to fund their outreach.

“We’re out here every day. We’re out here until 3-4 in the morning. If it’s really cold out we’re here passing blankets until 5 in the morning… We provide transportation, it’s all our gas, we provide meals for their lunches until they get their own paychecks, we help them get into school, help them get their IDs,” Voss said.

We Are Family is completely self-funded. On a given night, the group can collect up to $120 in charging fees. Voss says they usually charge anywhere from 9-18 scooters a night, money that is poured right back into their outreach.

“I’m always looking for ways to fund what we need, blankets, hygiene stuff, without reaching out to other people,” Voss said.

A few people that the group has helped have now even joined them in their efforts.

"It’s beyond outreach for them, its beyond anything people can imagine for them," Scott Bratton said.

Bratton, who has now moved into his own place, was living under the Pennsylvania street bridge when he met the Vosses. He admits he was hesitant to accept their help at first, but says he eventually realized how much they cared.

"Anything you needed, if they didn’t have it they would do anything to get it," he said.

What makes their work even more meaningful is the fact that they are experiencing homelessness themselves. For the past few months, the Vosses, Manning, and their respective children have been living out of a hotel, after “issues” forced them from their home. Through their struggles, Voss said their mission has remained unchanged.

“We take care of our bills, then we take care of our children, our family, then we have the rest of our family out here,” he said.

Voss said the group is planning a fundraiser this weekend to help boost their impact.

For more information about We Are Family, you can visit their website.

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