This August and September the Wayne Township Trustee Office will be celebrating as a few of our staff members will be reaching their retirement milestones. One of those staffers is Sharon Conrad who has been with the Township since 1997—that’s twenty years of public service!

Sharon has been a real asset to our team, giving of herself not only professionally but personally as well. Over the years she often donated time, talent and money to help her fellow employees and our clients.

I particularly think back to 2008 when Sharon organized a Township Trustee in-house store to distribute school supplies through our Investigations Department. As she tells it, she was doing some personal shopping when she ran across some school supply bargains that were just too good to pass up. She purchased a large quantity of those supplies with her own funds and brought them in to the office for the investigators to pass out to families who needed them. This proved to be such a big help that every year since, during the month of August we have carried on the tradition.

After several years of running it Sharon passed this project on, and today her fellow bookkeeper, Andrea Hilton runs the store. With the help of Sharon and others our School Supply Store has been open for nine years now. It is well-stocked with colorful backpacks, pens, pencils and erasers, hand sanitizers, notebooks and many other items on the schools’ list of needed supplies they send home with students.

And this is the time of year to start thinking about back-to-school. Fort Wayne Community Schools will be back in session on August 15. For many people this is an exciting time of year as they take their children shopping for new clothes and supplies. For some, however, spending the extra funds for their children to go to school can present a real hardship. Because education is so important in the fight against poverty, we here at the Township take the financial challenges faced by these struggling families very seriously and we try to help out in every way we can. This is the time of year we start ramping up the back-to-school activities in several of our departments.

For households already struggling financially, spending money on books, clothes and other needed school items often means that other expenses can get behind. And so we see more clients come to us seeking help. After reviewing a family’s income and expenditures we often find that they are eligible for Township Assistance, maybe for help with a utility bill or a shelter payment. By helping in this way we can make sure that the children don’t suffer when the household’s ends fail to meet.

In our food pantry, especially in the last week before school starts, families sometimes need help feeding their children before the reduced-lunch program can supply them with a daily meal. It is at this time that the demand on our pantry supply will often go up.

School clothes are another necessity we can help with here at the township. Our Clothing Emporium, a store of donated items, offers children’s clothes in all sizes, and often we have uniform items like polo shirts, khakis and navy skirts and pants.

In the last column I mentioned the Recognizing Achievement Scholarships for high school graduates and the Academic Encouragement Awards for younger students that the Township recently presented. These scholarships, the money for which was raised without using taxpayer dollars, helped sixteen students with educational expenses and other learning necessities.

In these ways the Wayne Township Trustee Office carries on the tradition of helping needy families get by, and hopefully helping their children to keep up the good work in their coming education.

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Richard A. Stevenson - Wayne Township Trustee

Wayne Township Trustee Rick Stevenson was elected Trustee in November of 2006 and took office in January of 2007. He is very passionate about helping those in need and considers it a privilege to be in a position to be able to help. > Read Full Biography > More Articles Written By This Writer