The Herald Bulletin

Morning Update

Annual Report: Health & Public Service

March 27, 2011

Need increases in county while aid decreases

Hopeful 2011 brings reprieve

ANDERSON, Ind. — For the past two years there has been a steady increase in need in Madison County, Christian Center interim executive director Peter Lyon said.

“That increase has coincided with the nationwide recession,” he said. “I think the state of the economy will be a harbinger for how it goes this year. As more jobs become available, if the economy improves we will see lesser numbers. Obviously that’s a good thing.”

Lyon said the need at the Christian Center has increased not only in the homeless shelter but for other resources the center provides for individuals and families, such as meals.

But while the need has increased, the center hasn’t seen an equivalent increase in support. He said as the economy took hits, donors were more financially pressed and able to give less and, in some instances, stop giving altogether.

Tim Kean, associate director of Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Indiana, saw a little better picture in Madison County in 2010.

The need increased dramatically, with Madison County agencies reporting seeing anywhere from 25 to 40 percent more clients over 2009, but the agency saw an equal increase in aid.

“Because of the economic problems we are facing across the country, the situation is in the news and on the top of everyone’s minds,” Kean said. “I think people are more aware of hunger than they were three or four years ago, and because of that, people are more predisposed to think about making a contribution.”

For 2011, Kean expects numbers to increase even more over the drastic jump seen in 2010. There are 130,000 people in Madison County, and of those, as many as 14,000 are at or below the poverty level. But the number of those who are defined as being “food insecure” — not having access to enough food for a healthy life — is much higher in the area, with 21,000 falling into the category.

“We are planning for a strong demand that will probably increase through the rest of this year,” Kean said. “Because of that, we have projected that we will be distributing 10 percent more this year than last year — a record year for us. We hope people will continue to respond the way they have.

“I think the present situation of hunger now seems to hit a lot closer to home for most people. If they aren’t in a situation of need themselves, the chances are that they know or work with someone or someone in their family may be in that circumstance. It wasn’t that way three or four years ago.”

Lyon said changes he hopes to see this coming year include continued and increased support to the agency and an increase in the number of full-time jobs available, as many of the jobs the clients are offered are temporary jobs.

Nancy Vaughan, president of United Way of Madison County, said that in general, nonprofits are all doing more with less.

“I am aware of several organizations that have cut staff, cut pay and cut benefits,” she said. “Many of our organizations depend heavily on volunteer assistance, and United Way is working to increase these opportunities.”

Some examples Vaughn pointed to included child care organizations that are under duress because many people aren’t working, so their attendance is down, and child care subsidies generally do not cover enough of the expense for low-income workers. And organizations that assist with basic needs are at the bottom of their barrel right now since winter has been long and cold, she said.

United Way launched a first-time shared funding pool for utility assistance in October. The partners in the Community Access Network, Vaughn said, were all able to access the funding so that there was greater access for those in need. Since October 15, the agency provided $52,500 in assistance to 378 households. This is assistance beyond the state energy assistance through JobSource, which all of these households also received. Overall, the Community Access Network partners provided assistance — utility, food or other things — to 3,169 households representing 9,186 individuals during 2010, and the numbers are up for 2011, she said.

Many organizations, Vaughn said, are reporting that about one-third of the households they have seen this year are asking for assistance for the first time.

“The good news regarding community support and stability is that for the first time in a decade, the United Way campaign did not decrease,” she said. “There has been a lot of ‘right-sizing’ over the past few years and much more collaboration between organizations of all types. It’s that pulling together when times are tough response in action.”

Contact Abbey Doyle: 640-4805,

Text Only
Annual Report: Health & Public Service
  • 0323 news AU 029.jpg Ivy Tech, AU engage students in community

    Though Ivy Tech is a system divided into 14 statewide regions with a total of hundreds of educational sites, community-based programs like the clinic help anchor a campus to a specific locality.

    March 28, 2012 1 Photo

  • 1223_news_Brown_02.jpg Brown leads student volunteers

    Many people don’t really know what the Urban League of Madison County has to offer their community. But Lindsay Brown, the organization’s president and CEO, hopes that will change soon.

    March 28, 2012 1 Photo

  • 1217 United Way 1.jpg Nonprofits rethinking the way they do business in today's economy

    United Way of Madison County president Nancy Vaughan has banded together with other local nonprofit organizations, business and local government agencies to find ways to stretch every dollar her organization receives.

    March 28, 2012 1 Photo

  • 0305 news Operation Love food bank18a.jpg Operation Love has big goals

    Operation Love Ministries may not have a huge budget, but the power of a large volunteer group and helpful spirit help the faith-based nonprofit have a giant impact in the lives of those it seeks to help.

    March 28, 2012 1 Photo

  • 4 AR_School budget story 23a.jpg Madison County school districts weather ups and downs

    It was another year of ups and downs for Madison County schools as some districts reaped the benefits of legislation like school choice while others suffered from it.

    March 28, 2012 1 Photo

  • Buck struggles with South Madison budget

    With the economy in a recession, schools such as South Madison are facing many challenges with budget cuts.

    March 28, 2012

  • 1015 news do something 034.jpg Area churches hope to spread message through outreach programs

    As the area’s largest and most visible church, Madison Park Church of God claims a membership of well over 2,000 people. However, the county as a whole is somewhat behind when it comes to religious presence.

    March 28, 2012 1 Photo

  • Main Street ministry small but full of life

    Anderson’s Main Street Church of God has been around for nearly one hundred years. Lately, the congregation has been reinvigorated with new members and a spirit of outreach, proving that you can indeed “teach an old church new tricks.”

    March 28, 2012

  • Local unions fight for fair wages, benefits

    For the past 20 years, the firefighters union has been a right-to-work union, according to John Smith, president of the Anderson Firefighters Local 1262. Despite this, there has been a 98 percent involvement rate among firefighters in Indiana.

    March 28, 2012

  • 2 AR_Scott Calhoun FOP president 06a.jpg Unions seek to make city government more efficient

    With the passage of House Bill 1001, unions are prohibited from forcing workers to join or pay dues and fees to a labor union. The bill was mired in controversy, which included a walkout by many democratic legislators during last year's session.

    March 28, 2012 1 Photo

More Resources from The Herald Bulletin
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide

Now that Andrew Luck is getting ready to start the third year of his NFL career, did the Colts make the right decision to release Peyton Manning and turn the offense over to Luck?

Yes, the future is bright.
No, the Colts would have won another Super Bowl by now if they had kept Manning.
Don't know; don't care
     View Results