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A Voice for the Good: From This Day Forward

3Rivers is proud to support so many of the non-profit organizations that are committed to making our community a better place to live, work, and play, and we want to help spread the word about the difference they're making in our region. We’ve teamed up with 97.3WMEE to bring you A Voice for the Good, a series in which we feature local organizations on our website in the form of an informative articles as well as on-air segments highlighting the non-profits’ missions.

This article features From This Day Forward, a local non-profit on a mission to “educate and empower individuals to adopt mindful spending and repurposing habits during life’s celebrations.”

From This Day Forward Welcome Sign

We talked with Heather Krempel, Executive Director, to learn more about this organization and the work they’re doing in our region.

How did From This Day Forward come to be? What’s the history/story behind how the organization initially got started?

Several years ago, my husband was a worship director at a church in Columbia City. There was a foreign exchange student from Germany on his praise team. She eventually graduated and went back home to Germany. A few years later, she was coming back to visit her host family and wanted a traditional American wedding. Her host family felt they didn’t have the finances to do a traditional ceremony and reception, so my mother and I offered the items that were left over from my wedding. The bride and groom were so genuinely humble and grateful for everything, that it sparked an idea. There may be others that are trying to celebrate a life event but are unsure of how to put the pieces together or lack the finances to hire a full-blown planner. Mom and I were both working full time and we thought that it would be a good idea for someone else to start up. A few months later, I was reacquainted with an old childhood friend. I found out she was moving up her wedding due to her future mother-in-law being diagnosed with stage four cancer.

God kept knocking on our hearts and we finally listened. FTDF was created in the spring of 2016 and by August of that same year, we had our 501, non-profit status.

What is the official mission of From This Day Forward, and how is it currently being put into play?

We strive to educate and empower individuals to adopt responsible spending and repurposing habits amidst life celebrations.

We are honored to walk alongside so many individuals as they celebrate some of the most pivotal moments of their lives. Our services help clients find affordable resources in addition to educating on special event planning.  Social media has created such unrealistic expectations that many of our clients have held off on getting married because they thought they had to spend thousands of dollars to have a wedding.

Our boutique offers gently used formal wear, shoes, jewelry, and other special event and gift items.  Anyone is welcome to shop in our boutique as all proceeds go right back into the organization. We also accept formal wear donations as so often these gowns are only used once or twice for just a few hours. We believe in reusing and recycling to give new purpose to each item and to reduce the amount of waste sitting in a landfill. It also allows for someone to find the perfect gown within their budget.

Our Decor for a Difference program allows us to reuse and recycle decor by renting out items that would otherwise be purchased for one-time use and then stored in an attic or garage. We also offer surplus items for purchase in our boutique at a fraction of retail cost to allow guests to stretch their limited budget even further.  Other surplus items are repurposed in our Craft for a Cause program. Craft enthusiasts can use extra items to create things such as arrangements or wreaths that can then be distributed to those in need within our community.

From This Day Forward Shop

How do you see the mission and vision of From This Day Forward evolving in the future in the Northeast Indiana community? Where do you see your organization a year from now, or even five years from now?

We are working toward expanding our educational program to include subjects such as creating a budget, time management, organization skills, and how to navigate challenging family dynamics. Our vision includes educational videos in addition to other digital and printable resources.

We would eventually like to be able to offer paid employment for individuals of all abilities.

We have been contacted by various individuals all over the country asking if there was anything like our organization near them. Long term goals would be to be able to branch out and help other communities to be able to celebrate their special events not just for today, but for a sustainable tomorrow.

Are there any exciting new developments, updates, or changes that have recently taken place at From This Day Forward?

This year we have been focusing on growing our board and added two new board members! We’ve also restructured our mission statement and have focused on very specific strategic planning to grow our organization sustainably.

In January, we opened a Gift & Thrift section of our boutique for those needing affordable and unique gift items.  We have handmade greeting cards, craft items, jewelry, candles, tumblers, floral arrangements and more! All proceeds from our boutique go right back into our organization so you are truly shopping for a cause!

This year we launched a new program called Gowns on the Go. We visited three different middle and high schools and set up a pop-up boutique to allow students to shop for a gown for their school dance. We hope this program can expand next school year!

We have had numerous volunteers diligently working in our garden area in hopes of being able to use the space for small ceremonies, parties, showers, and other community events.

Our warehouse crew has been spending the last year and a half organizing and creating a master inventory of all our rentable items in addition to a system to process incoming donations. This is HUGE for us!

From This Day Forward Volunteers

Could you share a standout story or two that really illustrates the impact From This Day Forward and/or its programs has on people in our community?

We recently assisted a young bride who was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer. The couple wanted to get married and celebrate with family as best as they could, but time and resources were working against them. We were able to help put the pieces together and allow them emotional and mental reprieve from planning.  We reached out to several vendors we worked with in the past and got everything coordinated for a beautiful day.  Unfortunately, the bride declined quickly, and we decided to move everything up even sooner which took an immense amount of communication between vendors and the family. Things changed moment by moment and we worked as a team to pivot around the bride’s needs. In the end, the couple was able to celebrate their special day and created some beautiful memories to cherish.

How can those interested in your services go about getting started or getting in touch?

Visit our website at or reach out to us on our Facebook or Instagram page.  You can also email us at or call us at 260.403.7323.

Are there other local non-profit organizations that From This Day Forward works/partners with to enhance their programs?

We have partnered with the Carroll High School special education program to offer students the ability to volunteer in our shop to learn life skills in a retail, garden, and warehouse setting.

We have also occasionally partnered with Blue Jacket Clothing Company and Martha’s/Career Closet to exchange inventory to fit our clients’ needs. Sometimes we will have more casual or business wear items donated to us and they sometimes have more formal wear donated to them so we trade so it can benefit both organizations.

We partner with several organizations within our town to host community events. The Rotary Club of Huntertown, Huntertown Family Park, and the Huntertown Chamber of Commerce are just a few.

Are there opportunities for community members to volunteer at From This Day Forward—and if so, how can they go about learning more?

ABSOLUTELY! We are solely run on volunteer power! We have volunteer opportunities in our boutique area, garden area, and warehouse area. We also host several community events and occasionally go on site to decorate for events. Reach out to us at or visit our Volunteer Center page to see all of our available volunteer opportunities.

From This Day Forward Sewing Group

In what other ways can community members support From This Day Forward—be it through monetary donations, material donations, education, etc.? Do you have an itemized wish list of any kind or utilize options like AmazonSmile to raise funds?

On average, it costs about $40,000 to run FTDF annually. This is just the bare minimum of rent, utilities, insurance, etc. We do not have any paid staff. Due to our extremely unique mission, we are oftentimes limited on the amount of funding we qualify for regarding grants. Any monetary donations are indescribably appreciated. In addition to operational costs, we also work to replenish our Dressed in Love Scholarship fund which assists individuals that cannot afford a gown for an event such as prom, semi-formal, wedding, or another special event.

We do have an AmazonSmile and Amazon wish list and participate in the Walmart Spark Good and Kroger Community Rewards Program. We are always in need of batteries (all kinds), zip ties (all sizes), plastic containers, sturdy hangers, long garment bags (for wedding dresses).

We accept any kind of women’s or children’s formal wear, including but not limited to: prom, wedding, bridesmaid, pageant, gala, cruise wear, mother of bride/groom, and flower girl dress. We also accept formal shoes, jewelry, accessories, decor, new or gently used gift items.

Every year we host a Holiday Stop and Shop for children in our community to shop for their loved ones. After the children go through, we then open the Stop and Shop to anyone that may be in need to shop. This year, we also opened the shop for students from the Carroll High school middle and high school special education class in addition to other organizations to be able to shop with their clients. We operate on a free will donation system as a fundraiser for our organization.  Stop and Shop items will need to be in new or like new condition and can be items for all ages.  We tend to always need more items for men and boys.

All donations can be brought to our shop located at 14625 Lima Road Fort Wayne, IN 46818 during regular business hours.

From This Day Forward Dresses

Where can our readers learn more about From This Day Forward or about getting involved?

Follow us on social media or visit our website

Is there anything else you’d like our readers to know about From This Day Forward?

We have no paid staff and are entirely driven by volunteers. We are only able to function because these outstanding individuals have chosen to donate countless hours to organizing, washing linens, processing donations, tagging dresses, packing decor for events, reshelving items, answering emails, monitoring our social media, answering phone calls and so much more. These people want to allow our community to be able to celebrate life, without having to go into immense amounts of debt.

Interested in featuring your non-profit on our website and on 97.3WMEE’s A Voice for the Good? Text "VOICE" to 46862! Please note that this may lead you to incur standard text messaging rates or other applicable charges consistent with your wireless carrier/mobile phone plan.

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