By Heather Lusk
A mother caring for a physically challenged husband and son, trying to make ends meet. A family wrought with the loss of a child in need of support and temporary housing. A child without school supplies and not enough to eat every day.
It’s Boone County residents like these that the Caring Center strives to help. In 2014 the facility assisted more than 15,500 people and provided food to nearly 12,000. Its mission to “stabilize families in crisis and move those caught in poverty towards self-sufficiency,” is accomplished entirely with support from donations and volunteers.
The need for more donations and assistance has prompted the center’s board of directors to create their first major fundraiser. The Charity Gala – on Valentine’s Day at the Golf Club of Indiana – will feature music by the Impalas, a wine pull, a chocolate sale and a 50/50 raffle.
But what will help the Caring Center the most is the needs-based silent and live auction, which features items such as air conditioning units, furnaces, picnic tables for the outdoor classroom area and the opportunity to provide school supplies for a child.
“Everybody has a passion,” executive director Theresa Hanners said. “We’re providing [attendees]with information about all our programs so they can bid on what makes them excited – whatever their passion is.”
As executive director of the Caring Center for 24 years, Hanners has learned to be a good listener and problem solver and will do what it takes to help people get back on a good path.
“We show them how to fish,” said Hanners. “There is teaching in everything we do.”
The Caring Center operates as an umbrella over several services that include a thrift store, food pantry, transitional housing and instructional space to teach Boone County residents in crisis how to cook, handle a budget and take control of their lives.
Hanners is dedicated to reducing food insecurity and has made it a goal to eliminate childhood hunger in Boone County by 2020, where she says 2,500 children live in food insecure homes.
“We step up to the plate to ensure that there’s food at the Caring Center,” said Hanners, “and not just food but nutritious food.”
The Caring Center contains a garden where fresh fruits and vegetables are grown, and cooking classes teach families how to prepare fresh items, can and preserve them.
For Dawn Such, one of the creators and leaders of the Charity Gala, the goal is to make everyone aware of what the caring center does.
“They do a lot of great work, not only with the food pantry and clothing closet,” Such said. “There are a lot of educational services for residents in Boone County.”
Hanners’ focus is empowering people in Boone County and helping remove barriers in their lives. “We meet people where they are and we help them write their future story,” she said
IF YOU GO
What: Charity Gala
When: 6:30 p.m. Feb. 14
Where: Golf Club of Indiana, 6905 S. 525 E., Lebanon
Cost: Begins at $150 per person and $250 per couple
More info: thecaringcenter.net
Help at the Caring Center
Residents of Boone County needing assistance may visit the Caring Center during their business hours: 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday and Wednesday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, and the first Saturday of each month from 9 a.m. to noon. The Caring Center is at 1230 Ransdell Court in Lebanon.