Christina Stampley loves being around stacks of diaper packages and wipes.
Throw in some formula, hygiene products and other such daily essentials and Stampley is really on cloud nine.
Those things – and the opportunity to give them away – represent purpose for Stampley, who was a teenage mom and started a nonprofit to help others on that journey.
“It was my pain that turned into my purpose because now my purpose is to help more single moms and pregnant teens who are just like me when I was that age,” said Stampley, the chief executive of House of Grace.
She became pregnant when she was barely a teen, 13. She recalls rejection. She recalls people assuming she was promiscuous, but said that was not the case.
Now 42, Stampley helps raise money in various ways, including accepting donations, putting together what she calls “men's care bundles” with body wash and other items, and offering jewelry for sale.
The House of Grace, Stampley said, is her full-time work, supported mostly be a handful of volunteers.
Stampley occasionally gets support from major retailers with local stores but also launched a shoe line a year ago called H.O.G. Wear, playing off the first letters of the name of her non-profit. The shoes, described on one website as a street style, low sneaker, are manufactured in Italy. Once an order is made, production starts.
Stampley uses Facebook to drive her mission. She knows it's a good place to connect with many younger people. At least 1,275 people have clicked “like” on The House of Grace Center for Pregnant Teens and Single Moms United page that was started more than a year ago. There's a connected private support group page for single moms; it's billed as a safe haven to discuss issues including food, shelter and post-partum concerns.
Stampley, who also has lived in Atlanta, said she was able to make it as a single mom with help from her family. She is mom to four, the youngest 14 and the oldest 27.
Stampley has helped “a lot of people that were in crisis and that were in need,” said her sister, Barbara Isaac, adding that some members of the church she attends – The Temple – have benefitted.
Isaac said she is temporarily taking care of two young ones, ages 6 and 9, whom Stampley has provided items for, including coloring books and Barbie dolls. It doesn't always take a lot to help cheer up children when their family unit is facing hard times.
Corinthian Edwards, a grandmother who lives in Fort Wayne, noted that Stampley provides moral support, not just material items.
“She has a big heart. If she cooks a dinner for her family and she has leftovers, anyone's invited to come and eat if they're hungry,” Edwards said. “I can really name a number of things. I don't think there's anything where she hasn't tried to help a young mother or even the fathers.”
House of Grace Center for Pregnant Teens and Single Moms United
1118 Jones St., near Jefferson Boulevard and College Street, Fort Wayne
Mission: Provide pregnant teens and single moms items needed for their babies before birth and beyond
Wish list: Diapers, formula and clothes as well as food and hygiene items for moms
Drop off: 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, 11a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday