June 3rd Update:
We've been navigating this time the best way we know how, just like you all. NeighborLink took necessary precautions, pulled back some project types and brought attention to others. The numbers of volunteers have decreased and we're around 200 completed projects behind where we were this time last year, but the dedication of the volunteers that have felt comfortable remaining engaged is as strong as ever. Volunteers have delivered food, made countless phone calls, and are doing dozens of regular home repair projects that we do all the time, especially all the outdoor projects.
Here are a few things we've learned over the past couple of months that come to no surprise to anyone regularly involved with NL:
- The demand for help through NL has increased. We've had almost 400 requested projects in the past 30 days. We need more help than ever.
- Homeowners are as stressed as all of us. Tensions are a bit higher than usual due to COVID and extra grace is needed and welcomed.
- The Fort Community has responded incredibly to the needs and we are grateful to be serving with so many great neighbors.
- The Heart of NL has always been self-mobilized personal efforts to love neighbors in practical ways, and we need you to be courageous and mobilize yourselves now more than ever. We're here to help, but choosing projects that you feel comfortable doing and setting it up is the way to go.
We are still encouraging smaller teams, proper social distancing, and choosing external projects if at all possible over the summer months. However, as things begin to become more flexible, we're wanting to work with each group that wants to serve as long as we keep distance between volunteers and homeowners due to the vulnerable state of so many of the neighbors asking for help.
Please continue to check in on our Volunteer Recommendation pages for updated information.
On March 23rd, Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb issued a decree that all non-essential activities and businesses must adhere to strict Stay-At-Home policies beginning Wednesday, March 25th. Since NeighborLink is considered an essential organization, we will continue to remain operational. To learn more about our current operations, click here.
NeighborLink has been a place where vulnerable neighbors can seek assistance from their neighbors since we began serving Fort Wayne in 2003. Over 10,000 tangible and practical neighbor-to-neighbor expressions of God’s love through service and volunteerism have been completed in that time, with 3,500 requests for assistance and 1,400 completed projects in 2019. We have built a community of concerned neighbors that will be looking for ways to help during this time and are willing to step into complicated situations out of obedience and compassion.
The board of directors and our staff are committed to being as proactive and responsive as we can to ensure that NeighborLink continues to be a place where concerned neighbors can come alongside their vulnerable neighbors in ways to provide tangible, spiritual, and social support during a time of increased vulnerability. Many needs yet to be known will surface as it relates to increased social isolation, economic impacts related to vocational changes, and reduced capacity at our partner organizations. All of us will be impacted in some way, including myself as we have three kids now out of school for the next month and are two parents that work in the social sector who are about to get a whole lot busier rather than slower.
We aren't sure what is going to happen, we are preparing for trouble, we're not afraid, and we're ready to respond with the heart of our mission by providing practical, neighbor-to-neighbor expressions of God's love.
We're going to need each other. We just aren't sure how, yet.
This page is going to be a hub for all COVID-19 related information as it relates to NeighborLink Fort Wayne. All information will be updated as needed, so please check back here if you have any concerns or want to know current best practices.