Helping Independent Parents started in 2009 after a classmate of Isaiah Salters was arrested for stealing to buy diapers for her young child.
Salters decided to do something about it and began collecting donated diapers and formula to help meet the needs of young single parents.
“We feel a mother should not go without. There should be someone out there who can help,” he said. He said several area churches stepped forward to help and during the last five years the organization has helped more than 300 people.
H.I.P. took another step forward on Friday during a grand-opening celebration that centered on a new room in the G.O. Development Corp. building that will house the organization.
The organization was also able to celebrate a $45,000 grant from the Ashtabula Foundation designed to fund the group for a year to get more families on their feet.
“Now we will be able to get larger quantities. It’s going to help lots of people,” Salters said.
The organization hopes to partner with social service organizations to provide education opportunities for single parents in the near future.
Salters said there is a growing trend of teen pregnancy with a lot of girls having babies when they are 14 or 15 years of age.
“We want people to know there is help,” he said.
Dan Ballard, treasurer of the G.O. Development Corp. Board of Directors, said the organization is excited to start up the program in its own room.
“Baby supplies are expensive,” Ballard said. He said fewer hungry babies will result.
“Who can argue with that,” Ballard said.
Ashtabula Foundation President Roger Corlett said the foundation receives a lot of requests for grants and can’t approve all of them because there is limited funding.
“This is a very worthwhile project,” Corlett said. He said he was amazed at the needs of the young parents.