INDIANAPOLIS — Through a new partnership, Indianapolis-based company Calumet donated 600 pounds of candle wax to "Restored Creations," an enterprise of Wheeler Mission's Center for Women & Children.
Employees of Calumet dropped off the year's supply of wax to Restored Creations on Wednesday. They estimate it can make 1,500 to 3,000 candles.
Restored Creations previously ordered candle wax through a supplier and paid a large shipping fee.
"The cost of shipping for the heavy wax boxes is really expensive. So, to be able to have Calumet donate the wax and not have to lose on that shipping cost alone is a huge savings for us," said Lisa Hoffman, program director of Wheeler Center for Women & Children.
Calumet manufactures high-quality lubricating oils, solvents, waxes, white oils, asphalts and fuels.
While developing a new candle wax brand, the company wanted to find a local charity to donate to.
"What we ended up doing was coming down here and visiting the organization and gave them some wax. I said, 'Could you use a whole year's worth of wax if we donated it?' And they said, 'Absolutely,'" said Lindsey LaBerge, Calumet Director of Corporate Marketing.
The "TitanWax" will be used for soy-blend candles, wax melts and mini melts. It's a special candle wax that makes the job even easier since it does not require any extra components to be blended.
"This is just a block of wax that they can throw into the wax heater, and they pour it out and make all their candles here in the shop. It takes one extra step out of the process," LaBerge said.
Each candle is hand-poured by women who have survived homelessness, addictions and domestic violence. The enterprise gives them a therapeutic outlet to empower them to learn and develop important job skills.
Currently, there are about 30 women in the enterprise, including Melanie Leibacher, who joined about four months ago. She was previously at the center in 2011 and returned this year and found success.
"In the back of my mind, I realized I have to get a real job, but it's nice to slowly integrate and recover," she said.
Leibacher works on filling the candle containers with wax. She said she is appreciative for the donation.
"We are grateful to have it because we ran out of wax last week, actually. The fact that it's mixed together already is very nice too because it takes some work away from us having to put it in the warmer and mix it together," she said.
The enterprise has also brought purpose to Susan Wheatley.
"I feel like it is something special from God to help people. Not only help the people that make it, but it helps the people who purchase it. It helps feed people, keep the lights on. It helps everybody," Wheatley said.
Restored Creations' sales are increasing. In 2020, they exceeded the previous year's sales even during the pandemic. All the proceeds from the candles go back into the ministry.
Calumet said as the enterprise grows, they want to grow with them.
"If they grow and people buy candles, we will grow with them and continue to make that donation for them," LaBerge said.
To learn more about Restored Creations or to make a purchase, click here.
Calumet also plans to showcase the Restored Creations candles at the National Candle Association Annual Conference and Expo Oct. 5-7 in Alabama.
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