Center acknowledges generosity and volunteerism

NAPPANEE — The Family Christian Development Center (FCDC) is known in the area for feeding the less fortunate. In 2011 alone, the Center helped put food on the tables of 3,349 households, but the beginning of November, staff and volunteers met to enjoy one another’s company as well as dine from tables at Dal-Mar Banquet Hall at the FCDC haystack breakfast.
Members of the FCDC Board of Directors as well as Executive Director Karen Sherer Stoltzfus and pantry food manager Ken Woodcox spoke to those gathered about their gratitude for the generosity of fellow employees, volunteers, and community members. Woodcox, recently celebrating his 10 years with the organization, said that the effect the assistance offered to the families of the area is monumental to them, “something that truly changes them forever.” He said a goal the FCDC is looking toward providing its visitors coming for assistance is a small room in which to counsel or simply listen to them.
“We treat them with respect and kindness but it would be better to have somewhere to go for just a few moments to talk, have a cup of coffee and for us to listen to their hurts and their needs,” he explained. “They are coming in humbled, with heavy hearts, and we can help them a little with that too.”
Office manager and volunteer coordinator for the last five years, Idella Chupp brought to the attention of those in the dining room a “very special notebook.”
“There is no other like it,” she said. “And you’ll want your name in here too!” In it was a list of all those that volunteered and their time given and duties covered. She noted those that had given the most in the last year: Chad Birch (450 hours), Betty Ward (354), Cinda Lightfoot (302) and Susan Deardorff (270) and asked those in the room that had given to the FCDC — be it with their manpower or financial or other donations — to stand and be recognized. “You are the reason FCDC can succeed,” she said. “I thank you. I thank you. I thank you.”
Another person recognized was Shelly Lengacher, former board secretary, who said it had been “an honor and a privilege to serve the board and work with everyone involved.”
“When people come in that door, they feel the compassion,” she said of the efforts of those dealing with the public through the FCDC.
Sherer Stoltzfus explained that there are many working poor in the area, a lot of them having issues with their health or their income not meeting their needs. Rev. Ed Geleske, FCDC president, said that 61 percent of what the organization did to assist families was given in the form of food, and that 40 percent of those that seek assistance are families with small children.
As well, in 2011, 226 families benefited from efforts toward Thanksgiving turkeys (and the “trimmings”) and 429 children from 149 families received toys and other gifts last Christmas. “The reality is, we can hardly keep up with the area’s needs,” he explained.
Other numbers of 2011 assistance included: 501 visits from those asking for help with medications and 989 medicines were ordered saving those in need of the drugs some $460,577; 100 individuals received assistance with their rent, $7,825 going toward keeping a roof over their heads; 160 people were given assistance with utility bills in the total amount of $9,527; 181 area babies received check-ups and 521 free vaccinations were given; 164 individuals were served at the baby closet; and 1,185 individuals were served by the clothing closet.
FCDC representatives spoke on the success of the fundraiser held Aug. 11, the “Come to the Table” dinner and auction of which a plethora of cuisines were featured by local chefs, much of the ingredients coming from area farmers.
That evening $18,000 was pledged for the FCDC’s efforts.
FCDC Reps also asked that the community spread the word that the needs are still strong — and not only during the holidays, but all throughout the year. “You can help with the food pantry, clothing closet, the well-baby programs, building maintenance, office work or working events like the Christmas Jubilee,” Sherer Stoltzfus explained. “It’s more than giving a monetary donation, though we’ll accept those too, but what we need to do is be able to continue to offer our community the help they need.”
The FCDC is a faith-based, not-for-profit agency that relies on support from its donors. To learn more, call 574-773-2149; visit http://www.fcdcin.orh or find its Facebook page.