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FANS Network: The First Year

The FANS Network is a group of people who are committed to enhancing the lives of individuals with developmental disabilities. We are always looking for Friends, Allies and Neighbors to join us in this mission. We believe that the journey of life is better when people help and support each other. We want to celebrate how every person, regardless of ability, makes a difference in the community.

As we look back over the first year of the FANS Network in Allen County, we have been blessed to witness some really wonderful things. The Give Back Crew, a team that volunteers in our community, has had a blast. Members of the Give Back Crew helped with the 2016 United Way Day of Caring. Busy Bakers joined the crew and passed out baskets to fifteen partner agencies in Allen County, complete with fresh-baked goodies and information about the program. The Give Back Crew volunteered at the Kiwanis fundraiser and helped at a community e-cycling event. They also took nominations for direct care staff who go above and beyond, and they delivered cards and treats as tokens of appreciation.

Making A House A Home had some really great volunteers get involved – some are Kindness Couriers and Golden Furniture Retrievers, who help pick up and drop off donated items. MAHAH provides household items for adults with disabilities who move into the community for the first time, families with children who have special needs, and others who just need a few things to complete their homes. MAHAH accepts clean, gently used household items and adaptive equipment (like wheelchairs, walkers, and shower chairs). The team has supplied furniture and household items to twelve different people or families. They also donated power wheelchairs to two individuals who needed a back-up while their chairs were being repaired. One gentleman needed his power chair to be able to work, so he was especially thankful for the generous donors.

The Caring Craftsmen help people with disabilities and their families with home repairs or projects they could not afford or complete on their own. In 2016, a group of Caring Craftsmen replaced a roof for a gentleman who could not afford to do so on his own. Local businesses, churches and charitable organizations came together to donate time and materials for the project. If you have a skill or talent, FANS can put it to good use!

The Meet A Practical Need Team has assisted individuals with donations for basic necessities, especially when the unexpected happens. One family had a loved one who needed to go out of town for a complicated medical procedure. The Meet A Practical Need Team gathered donations to help family members accompany her for the procedure and stay for a few days as support.

Sometimes people with disabilities have a hard time making friends and connections in the community. The Meal-A-Month Team provides a home-cooked meal or a plate of cookies, and delivers them once a month. The visit gives both volunteers and recipients a chance to talk and get to know each other, developing a friendship. Meanwhile, Make Their Day team members visit people with disabilities who are in the hospital, recovering from an illness, or staying at a nursing home for rehab. These are caring companions who provide comfort and support during difficult times. The Make A Memory Team donates restaurant gift certificates and tickets to shows or sporting events to give someone with a disability the opportunity to experience something new. These team members believe that sharing life experiences is a wonderful way for people to become more integrated into the community.

Each one of our volunteers and donors has left a lasting impression. Allen County is full of generous people who care about this community. The FANS Network has been blessed by these volunteers. If there’s one thing we’ve learned in our first year, it’s that we can each truly make a difference.

If you are interested in learning more about the FANS Network or joining a specific team, give us a call! We are always looking for new opportunities to expand and will work with your particular gifts and interests to match you with a team or develop a new team.

Please don’t hesitate to call Sarah Troyer, who can share information, add you to the email list, or give a short presentation about the program for your business or service group. You can reach Sarah at 419-221-1385 ext. 1008.

Here are the current opportunities for our FANS or anyone interested!

  • Requests for specific items:

  • Full-size refrigerator

  • Dresser

  • Porch swing with stand

  • Washer and dryer

  • Push mower

  • Gently used BiPAP machine

Request for Volunteers:

  • Volunteers to mow a lawn in Lima once or twice a month

  • Assistance for an individual to clean her apartment

  • Volunteer to teach someone how to sew, knit or cro­chet


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