Giving Back

Giving+Back

Emmalyn Meyer, Editor-in-Chief

Homestead High School is all about giving back to the Fort Wayne community, and several organizations and clubs within our school reflect that: Key Club, National Honors Society, The Network, Internships, etc. Members of these organizations often need to fulfill a volunteering quota with a specific number of hours to retain membership, and during the COVID-19 era, volunteering opportunities can be sparse. If you’re looking for somewhere to donate your time, look no further. These are a few organizations in the city of Fort Wayne that need help – here’s how to get involved.

Community Harvest Food Bank

The Community Harvest Food Bank is indisputably at its greatest need during the weeks leading up to Thanksgiving and Christmas, and that need has been exaggerated this year with the onslaught of job loss due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

At the moment, the most impactful volunteer opportunities are assisting the Food Bank’s “drive-thru” distribution of foods and goods to over a thousand families every Saturday morning. All ages and abilities are welcome and encouraged to participate. The organization sets up at their location on East Tillman Road from 7:30am to 11:30am and delivers necessary products to local families dealing with food insecurity.

We serve (families) approximately 100,000 pounds of produce, bread and assorted other foodstuffs,” Roy Nevil, volunteer coordinator, said. “In order to accomplish this, it takes about 45-50 persons each week to volunteer.”

For anyone free during weekdays and age 18 or older, the Food Bank needs helpers to fulfill roles in stocking, reclamation, and general assistance from 9am to 12pm and 12:30pm to 3:30pm. These volunteers are needed at both the Tillman Road location and the North Coliseum Road location. 

To sign up to volunteer, go to https://communityharvest.volunteerhub.com/ and sign up for the preferred day and time slot as well as location. 

“You will be tasked with several different possibilities that we have at either location, but there are also a few specific opportunities as well if you so desire,” Nevil said. 

YMCA

More than just a center for fitness and self-improvement, the YMCA of Greater Fort Wayne is constantly seeking volunteers to help with community development inside and outside of the building. 

“Right now, people can volunteer with the YMCA to rake leaves for older members in the community,” Tim Hallman, volunteer manager and Director of Christian Emphasis, said. “They can also sign up to be a youth sports coach, starting in January, and we always need volunteers to come in and read to children in child watch.”

This year has been obstacle after obstacle for the YMCA programs led by dedicated volunteers, as the pandemic has caused people to fear for their safety while assisting others. However, the organization has taken strides to protect the community and keep them involved.

“We have tried to focus on outdoor projects as a way to help people feel comfortable while still making a difference and reduced the size of our volunteer groups,” Hallman said. 

If you’re interested in donating your time to the YMCA, email [email protected] to get involved in the Fort Wayne community in a multitude of ways.

“We are still giving opportunities for people to volunteer because it is an important way for people to make friends and make a difference and do something good even amidst all of the complicated things going on in the world,” Hallman said.

Fort Wayne Rescue Mission

One benefit for the Rescue Mission of Fort Wayne that has come from the tumultuous 2020 is a brand-new facility downtown equipped to carry out their mission of helping the homeless and bringing light and faith to the community. While the organization has a caring staff who is ready to serve their targeted population in the city, they are reliant on a strong base of volunteers who can donate their time to help the Rescue Mission carry out their mission, so to speak.

We have slowly reintroduced limited volunteer opportunities back into the routine, so having volunteers just wanting to volunteer is important,” Niki Koch, volunteer coordinator, said. 

To volunteer, you must be 18 years of age or older and go through volunteer certification. While volunteer opportunities are limited at the moment due to COVID-19 restrictions, there are always needs for volunteers at the main building, as well as at the Treasure House thrift store and Charis House, the shelter for women and children. 

“We have meal serving-breakfast/lunch and dinner as well as limited opportunities at our thrift store-Treasure House, sorting through donations and tagging them,” Koch said. 

To register to volunteer, go to https://fwrm.org/get-involved/volunteering and sign up for an available slot. The staff at the Rescue Mission would appreciate your time or donations!

NeighborLink

The organization NeighborLink seeks to pair willing volunteers with homeowners in Fort Wayne who need assistance with projects. With the pandemic, the number of people needing help with day-to-day activities increased as more people were put in lockdown.

“What we saw during the pandemic was a continued and increased level of need for people in our community,” Grace German, project facilitator, said. “For example, we  had volunteers help with food delivery during the shutdown when many of the at-risk population did not feel safe leaving their homes.” 

The current most important need for many neighbors is leaf-raking, which is the perfect task for high schoolers. It can be done in a group or alone, by any age or skill level, and it can be completed efficiently and quickly. Other ongoing needs may require more volunteers or skills, but they are worthy causes nonetheless. 

“Projects can be as simple as mowing lawns, raking leaves, or picking up groceries, to more complicated projects like painting a house, building a wheelchair ramp or even putting a new roof on a home,” German said. 

To volunteer, go to NLFW.org.