Hot Mess Express: A Source of Aid in Times of Need

by | Jan 2024

HOT MESS Express is a multi-state nonprofit that provides quick, essential household assistance to mothers in varying states of need. Hot Mess Express functions via local chapters. Nicole Young and Kandayce Pollard lead the charge in Bowling Green.

The Bowling Green chapter is relatively new but has sprung into action. Candidates are selected by a process of nomination. “We have a group on Facebook and have close to 500 members,” said Nicole Young. “People will post anonymously, or they will direct-message me or Kandayce with the name of the nominee, a mom they know who needs help — or you can nominate yourself.

“We put them together in a big list and then decide. We set up everything with them; we don’t post their name or personal information. The info’s not open to the public. We don’t post the name of the mom we’re helping or her kids or situation. Only Kandayce and I will know her information, aside from people who come to volunteer.”

The next step in the process is to assemble those groups of volunteers. “We do a public meeting spot. People will volunteer for a specific date we’ve scheduled and however many volunteers will show up at that spot. We carpool from there because not everybody has the address.”

Hot Mess Express performs vital tasks that make an actual impact in their lives. “It’s essentially just going in, doing dishes, laundry, and cleaning. It’s free and anonymous. We do deliver supplies to them. For our latest household, we got all new bedsheets for the mother and her children. We gave them necessities like a toothbrush, toothpaste, shampoo, body wash, laundry detergent — things that are kind of expensive. They’re donated to us by people in the community. We say, ‘Dig them out and reset the home completely, with all the cleaning duties.’”

The situations do vary. Sometimes, there is extensive interaction with the family, and sometimes it is just the opposite.

“Recently,” Young relates, “The mother and her children left and let us clean. The woman had a friend who was there in the home instead of her and her kids. She was truly anonymous. No one even saw her face.”

The Hot Mess team deals with some harrowing situations. “Our latest mother is a single mom who was left with four children. She had no trash service, no cell phone, and stuff like that. So we talked to people in the community and got her set up with things she needs that she can’t necessarily afford right now.”

How does someone not let the worry follow them home at the end of the day? “It’s very hard. I don’t! Not very well. I worry a lot and hope the mother’s situation is okay. For the last one, we left the mother. It wasn’t too cold, but it was getting there, and her gas heat wasn’t set up. Kandayce and I both hoped it would get fixed for her. We’ve kept in contact with the moms a little bit and just checked in and made sure everything’s good. The last one was crying and saying, ‘I don’t deserve this. You didn’t have to come.’ It’s hard to turn it off. I worry a lot about peoples’ situations.”

Luckily, The Bowling Green chapter has resources. “Slim Chickens, the food chain, has sponsored us. For every cleaning we do, we get free meals to feed the volunteers and gift cards to give to the mothers for free meals for them and their children.”

Nationally, Hot Mess Express is in a period of expansion. Young relates, “There are around 32 chapters currently. They’re more in the South and Southeast, but I think they’re spreading outward more.”

“Hot Mess Express is going to get grants now and send the local chapters care packages. There will be more resources for us and the chapters at the beginning of next year. We’re going to have a lot more resources and things to help more,” said Young.

Hot Mess Express and the Bowling Green chapter have a set outreach. For example, providing assistance with housing or obtaining a car is not part of the group’s scope. “In essence, we’re there to reset the home, which eases the burden for the mother and aids the entire household,” Young said.

Even with support and resources, maintaining a household and ensuring your kids’ well-being can be daunting. For those without support and resources, it can be dire. Hot Mess Express can reset lives by resetting the home. GN

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