Wayne Township has been very busy lately! I’d like to take a minute to talk about just a couple of activities we have been involved in, as well as explain why they are so very important to me.
Even prior to my administration, Wayne Township held annual community service projects. They were complete with free food, entertainment and games to encourage family and neighborhood unity at a substantial cost to taxpaying citizens. However, as Trustee, I felt an obligation to measure and evaluate the outcomes of such events.
I decided that if Wayne Township would continue in its tradition of an annual community service event, it should serve those who would truly benefit. Also, I felt we should provide tangible and much-needed goods and services that aren’t normally available to the indigent citizens at no cost to recipients or taxpayers.
Wayne Township’s newest community service event has been the annual Veterans Stand Down & Health Fair. This year we were able to offer over 400 free flu shots in addition to large variety of health screenings. Like last year, used winter clothing, coats, and blankets were offered, along with free haircuts and hot lunch, to the homeless and near-homeless citizens in the Fort Wayne area. Veterans received additional services, too. The Poor Relief department continued to conduct business as usual, provide emergency relief throughout the day.
At last year’s Stand Down, 280 people completed and returned an intake survey that described their current living conditions. This year, we received over 380 of them. The Northeast Indiana Regional Housing and Homeless Taskforce will be reviewing the data to help them in their planning and implementation of solutions for those with housing needs. The local Department of Veterans Affairs will also be reviewing the data collected to assess the needs of homeless and near-homeless veterans.
The second event I wish to talk about is the Outreach Department’s Fall Costume Party. In addition to focusing on their primary goal of solving critical problems related to lack of housing, food, employment, etc., the staff in the Outreach department once again kept the needs of the young children in transitional housing at heart. They held a Halloween costume party and invited several children from other area homeless shelters to provide fun and a sense of normalcy, which is essential to their well-being.
Both of these projects involved productive collaborations, met real and immediate needs, and allowed the spirit of community service to flourish. I look forward to continuing in this tradition.
Matthew P. Schomburg, Trustee
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