Christmas Bureau Helps Residents – Voice Of The Township

As we come to the end of 2021, we are looking forward to our last public event of the year; a party at Bell’s Skating Rink 7009 IN-930 New Haven where we’ll celebrate the holidays with free food, prizes and skate rental for 275 attendees. This event is a revival of the skates we used to hold at the Roller Dome South in Waynedale before that venue was closed in 2015. After a hiatus from our usual annual party in 2020, caused by the pandemic, we are really looking forward to gathering for some fun, excitement and camaraderie on Sunday, December 19 from 4:30 to 7:30—all free and open to public.

Like many other agencies around town, the Wayne Township Trustee Office has been trying as much as possible to return to normality during this COVID-19 pandemic. As I have written in other columns, over the past 2 years we have stayed open for business but have been forced by social distancing requirements to make many changes in our operations such as moving appointments to online or over the phone. All change is difficult, and so was this, but some changes actually ended up working out for the better. One of those changes came in the way we handle the annual Christmas Bureau presents that go to our client families.

Every year our office partners with the Allen County Christmas Bureau to provide holiday presents for needy families. This year Wayne Township, through our program organized by directors Tarra Martin and Shatayah Little, connected 40 families with presents and holiday trimmings that come from generous donors who each adopt a family to shop for. Their gifts are wrapped, boxed, and organized by the Bureau before arriving at our office.

Following is a description of the process from their Facebook page:

“The Allen County Christmas Bureau, Inc. is a not-for-profit corporation dedicated to assisting needy families in Allen County with gifts for Christmas. These gifts consist of food, paper products, personal hygiene items, cleaning needs, toys, clothing and other household needs and are collected for the families through the Adopt a Family Program.

The Christmas Bureau works with social service agencies whose case managers refer their clients to the Christmas Bureau for assistance. The clients are then matched with businesses, churches, individuals, organizations and schools who have requested a family “to adopt” for the holiday season. The family names of the clients and the adopters are strictly confidential, one from the other. The adopters bring the gifts to the Christmas Bureau for pick-up and delivery by the case managers.”

In the past our client families would come to the township to pick up their gifts, but starting in 2020, the middle of the pandemic, we changed our procedure and began delivering the packages to the clients’ homes. This change worked out better for everyone. The head of household who used to have to round up transportation and possibly take off work to come to us could now just arrange a time for us to drop off their gifts, and we didn’t have to carve out office space to house 40 families’ gifts and then worry that someone might not be able to make it to our office. It all ran so much more smoothly.

Bottom line: sometimes change is good thing. Because we were forced by the virus to think outside the box (pardon the pun), we made an improvement in our service that might not have occurred to us otherwise. The new routine was a win-win for all!

May the coming year bring good things to you and yours, and if you are looking for a little holiday cheer join us for the party on December 19.

Wayne Township Trustee - Austin Knox

Wayne Township Trustee - Austin Knox

Trustee Austin Knox is a Fort Wayne native who, on January 10, 2020, was unanimously elected trustee at a caucus of Democratic precinct committee leaders of Wayne Township. > Read Full Biography > More Articles Written By This Writer