HOPE, Ind. — Who would’ve thought a bunch of colorfully painted commodes would bring an entire community together? Well, that’s exactly what’s happened in the small town of Hope, Indiana.
“At least every evening we spend at least half an hour, 45 minutes or maybe longer, sitting out here enjoying the evening,” Greg Potts said.
He and his wife frequently sit on their front porch, looking at their quaint front yard on their quaint street.
Recently, there’s been a new addition to their yard, though: a strawberry-colored toilet.
“I was actually on my way home from work, and one of the neighbors called and said ‘Hey… there’s a toilet in your front yard,’” Potts said.
Someone left the brightly colored receptacle right in the middle of their front yard. Numerous other painted toilets began popping up across town.
“It’s definitely an attention getter,” Potts said. “When you drive down any street in Hope and you see a brightly painted toilet sitting in someone’s yard you gotta think, ‘huh?’”
Inside each toilet, homeowners found a letter explaining why a toilet had come to rest on their property.
“I thought how funny would it be if we traveled toilets and flushed away hunger,” said the project’s mastermind Whitney Budd.
Budd is both the painter and the planter of these special latrines. She’s also the president of Student’s Fund for Hope, an organization that helps pay school-related expenses for local kids. The goal of this particular fundraiser is to “Flush Away Hunger” by creating a fund to help kids in need pay for overdue lunch accounts.
“They can pay $10 to take it away, or they can pay $20 dollars to send it to a friend or a family member or a neighbor,” Budd said.
People also have the option to pay $30 to ensure they never get the toilet again, or pay $40 in advance to be put on the “Party Pooper” list.
“It’s been good,” Budd said of the fundraiser. “It’s good to be out in the community and to meet new people, and everybody has been a good sport about it.”
So far 4 toilets have visited 45 different homes, raising more than $1,000 in just over a week.
With this friendly game, the town of Hope wants to flush away hunger for good. Just like a toilet in a front yard, it’s an issue that can’t be ignored.
“It gives the whole community a sense of pride that the whole community comes together and funds this program,” Potts said. “Regardless of your stature in town, everyone loves the fact we have a fundraiser to support our children. It’s been widely, widely accepted.”
The fundraiser lasts until Friday with a goal of raising $2,000 for students in Flat Rock- Hawcreek schools. Last year, Student’s Fund for Hope helped pay off more than $6,000 of student lunch accounts that were in small claims court.