Community Harvest Food Bank, Let’s Give Allen County
May05

Community Harvest Food Bank, Let’s Give Allen County

Presenting a Q&A with Community Harvest’s Executive Assistant, Sara Koerner. Community Harvest is one of the five nonprofits selected for the Let’s Give Allen County campaign on May 6th.   Give us a brief history of your organization and its role in our community. The mission of Community Harvest Food Bank of Northeast Indiana, Inc. is “… seeking to alleviate hunger through the full use of donated food and other resources and to increase public awareness of and involvement in our mission.”  Community Harvest collects wholesome surplus food and grocery products that are donated by the food industry and other donors then utilize it for hunger relief. During the course of their history, Community Harvest has distributed over 186.5 million pounds of food and grocery products throughout their nine-county service area which includes:  Adams, Allen, DeKalb, Huntington, LaGrange, Noble, Steuben, Wells and Whitley counties.  Throughout a network of more than 400 member agencies, food is distributed to a variety of food pantries, soup kitchens, homeless shelters, rehabilitation centers, and youth and senior citizen programs – serving up to 90,000 annually. What are some ways that the public can get involved with your organization? Community Harvest is always looking for volunteer groups who want to make a difference in their community.  We invite all individuals, families, businesses and community organizations to come and spend some hours helping to feed our hungry neighbors. Community Harvest relies heavily on the support of volunteers to fulfill our mission, and we have many different avenues through which you can contribute your time. You can be a part of the over 7,000 volunteers needed each year to help Community Harvest alleviate hunger in northeast Indiana! For more information on how to help out at CHFB, contact Tammy Klimek at (260) 447-3696 ext. 306 or tklimek@communityharvest.org. If you’ve got a green thumb, we want you! CHFB is looking for gardeners throughout our nine-county service area to partner with us through the upcoming planting and harvesting seasons, giving a part of your crop to feed northeast Indiana’s hungry. When you donate your newly picked produce to the food bank, you are not just providing families in need with food, but you are offering them nutritious food options. Your fresh fruits and veggies will go directly from your fields to our Farm Wagons or into our Saturday Morning Helping Hands food distribution – two Community Harvest programs where our goal is to supply fresh foods to both rural and urban low-income clients. For more information about how to donate garden produce to Community Harvest, contact Andy Bullinger at (260) 447-3696 ext. 312 or abullinger@communityharvest.org. Do you have any upcoming events? On May 24th Foellinger Theatre at Franke Park is kicking off its...

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YWCA Northeast Indiana, Let’s Give Allen County
May03

YWCA Northeast Indiana, Let’s Give Allen County

Presenting a Q&A with YWCA’s Public Awareness Coordinator, Sydney McKerr. YWCA Northeast Indiana is one of the five nonprofits selected for the Let’s Give Allen County campaign on May 6th. Give us a brief history of your organization and its role in our community. YWCA Northeast Indiana is currently celebrating 120 years of service to the community. Founded in 1894 as a safe place for working women to meet, the agency grew in size and influence in the downtown area in the early 20th century. In 1976, we opened the doors of the Crisis Shelter, the first shelter for abused women in the state of Indiana, which still provides essential services today. Women come to YWCA Northeast Indiana in times of crisis: as survivors of domestic violence or as refugees starting a new life. They come for emotional support and empowerment.  They come for help in finding childcare, job training and a better education.  They come for a variety of reasons, and they leave with a renewed spirit, new skills and stronger lives. What are some ways that the public can get involved with your organization? YWCA Northeast Indiana is always in need of supporters committed to our mission of eliminating racism, empowering women, and promoting peace, justice, freedom and dignity for all. That support can come in the form of volunteer time, monetary or in-kind donations, or participation in one of the many events we host throughout the year. Do you have any upcoming events? At our Annual Meeting on May 19th, we will be taking special time to celebrate our 120th Anniversary, presenting the 2014 Peggy Hobbs Award for excellence in volunteerism, and honoring the many staff and volunteers who have contributed to our mission over the past year. For more information on other events to come in 2014 (like 100 Good Men or Domestic Violence Awareness Month), visit our website at www.ywca.org/NEIN. What are some of the biggest goals for your organization over the next couple of years? Over the next few years, we are committed to raising awareness of domestic violence and the importance of community involvement in ending it, as well as strengthening ties to the outer counties that we serve (DeKalb, Huntington, Noble, Wells, and Whitley). Tell us a little more about the project or campaign that any money raised from Let’s Give Allen County will help to benefit. YWCA Northeast Indiana’s Crisis Shelter is a 45-bed facility that provides immediate crisis intervention 24/7/365 to victims of domestic violence and their children. Upon arriving at the shelter, our clients receive essential needs, assistance with safety planning, and the emotional support they need to cope with the crisis(es) they are experiencing....

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Renaissance Pointe YMCA, Let’s Give Allen County
Apr28

Renaissance Pointe YMCA, Let’s Give Allen County

Presenting a Q&A with Renaissance Pointe YMCA Executive Director, Tabitha Ervin. Renaissance Pointe YMCA is one of the five non-profits selected for the Let’s Give Allen County campaign on May 6th. Give us a brief history of your organization and its role in our community. The YMCA has had a long history in Fort Wayne, Indiana. The first Y was established in 1858. The Y is one of the nation’s leading non-profits and largest providers of childcare. Here in Fort Wayne, the YMCA of Greater Fort Wayne has six full membership facilities (Renaissance Pointe YMCA, Central YMCA, Parkview YMCA, Jorgensen YMCA, Whitley County YMCA and Wells County YMCA). We also have a camp site: Camp Potawotami, a Childcare Services branch and the Youth Services Bureau. We serve over 45,000 members and many more people through our vast programming across the city. Our mission, “to put Christian principles into practice through programs that build healthy spirit, mind and body for all” is present in all we do. The Y has helped the community with such programs as: Y Diabetes Prevention Program, Obesity Wellness Network, LiveStrong Cancer Program, Parkview LiVe Healthy Families program and more! What are some ways that the public can get involved with your organization? The Y is very welcoming to volunteers in our programs. There is an application process and then volunteers are trained and placed within their areas of interest. We also accept volunteers for special events as well. Do you have any upcoming events? Healthy Families Week at all local Y’s: April 26-May 2 Splash Pad Opening at Renaissance Pointe: Memorial Day, May 26 World’s Largest Swim Lesson at Renaissance Pointe: Friday, June 20, 11am What are some of the biggest goals for your organization over the next couple of years? Continuing to connect with children, teens, families and Active Older Adults in the community through effective programming. Tell us a little more about the project or campaign that any money raised from Let’s Give Allen County will help to benefit. Team SOS-Team Students of Success is our Teen Program that is focused on leadership, character building, life skills and college and career readiness. The goal of the group is, “to promote and enhance the social skills and academics of young people in order to develop LEADERS who will be a positive force in their communities.” The group also volunteers in the local community to support others. The group meets weekly and works on college applications, has speakers and goes on field trips, all to promote positive growth and change in their...

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Cornerstone Youth Center, Let’s Give Allen County
Apr26

Cornerstone Youth Center, Let’s Give Allen County

Presenting a Q&A with Cornerstone Youth Center Executive Director, Kent Castleman. Cornerstone is one of the five nonprofits selected for the Let’s Give Allen County campaign on May 6th. Give us a brief history of your organization and its role in our community. Cornerstone was created in 2000 by a group of community-minded citizens, including current Executive Director Kent Castleman, for positive youth development. Cornerstone concentrates on students in grades 7-12 and provides opportunities for positive moral growth and sustainable life skills development. While our main center is located in Monroeville, IN, our reach for students extends to New Haven and Southeast Fort Wayne. We offer programming six days a week after school, in the evenings and on weekends until 11 pm as alternative to underage alcohol and drug use. Our education center works with students individually to help them pass their classes, and our other evening programming aims to inform students about how to make positive life choices. Castleman is a member of YLNI and the Get on Board Committee as well as various other boards and committees throughout Allen County. What are some ways that the public can get involved with your organization? Cornerstone actively seeks volunteers who want to impact teens’ lives by volunteering during our drop-in center hours, our programming in the evenings or our summer camps. Adults provide homework help/tutoring, help fix meals for programming or assist program coordinators in delivery of the programs and services. We also look to engage active citizens as board members and volunteers for fundraisers. Do you have any upcoming events? The next events are actually tied to our culinary and hospitality week summer camp. During our culinary and hospitality camp, we will serve two four-course meals prepared and served by the students at our Monroeville location. Each dinner is limited to 50 guests and combines all of the skills the students learn during the culinary and hospitality week. Chefs from area universities and restaurants share their experiences with the students throughout the week. Those events will be on July 15 and July 17. What are some of the biggest goals for your organization over the next couple of years? Cornerstone continues to find ways to identify gaps in skills for employers. We want to create more job skills programs that help meet the specific need of employers in the area and seek ways to foster tangible skills in our youth to help fill that void. We are also enhancing our recreational outreach with two new sports camps this summer and improving the outdoor recreation space for more physical fitness programming. Tell us a little more about the project...

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