New Name, New Location for Community Care of Northeast Indiana
The Wells County Chamber of Commerce staff and Ambassadors held a ribbon cutting to celebrate Community Care of Northeast Indiana’s new name and location. The celebration was held at the new Community Thrift Store and resource center located at 117 South Main Street in Bluffton.
Community Care of Wells County was created in 2013 by a group of local pastors when there was a need for benevolence funding. Families were going to different churches for resources and the pastors decided to combine funding. Community Care of Wells County was formed. “The program started out to help with housing expenses, rent assistance, and utilities,” explained Christine Walker, Executive Director. “This was also a way for pastors to reach these individuals and not duplicate resources.”
The program and additional needs continued to grow in the community. Men were coming out of incarceration, needed a place to stay, and transition their life out of prison. Community Care was located on Johnson Street with apartments on the top floor which housed individuals in this transition. The Man Up program was created.
Grace & Mercy Transitional Housing, provides a safe and secure transitional housing for displaced women and children, getting out of an abusive situation, just released from Department of Corrections, and other life situations. Staff and mentors walk beside residents to equip them to make healthy and productive life changes.
Change Up Thrift Store was originally housed at Life Church as a way to reach families and connect them to resources. “We outgrew that space at the Church and moved to the Marion Street location and the program started to grow,” explained Walker. “We have been looking at all our programs and processes for the past 10 months differently. We could never outgive God and we knew the more we could give away the more would come back. The space outgrew itself and needed to make a change.”
Walker said that through the strategic planning process, the board realized that the Man Up program was not doing what they wanted it to do. “Comparing the Man Up program to Grace & Mercy, which is a program that works well, we decided to remove the program for now,” said Walker. “Someday we hope to open a program for men similar to Grace & Mercy.”
“We felt we served Wells County well, but through the programs and people being served through our programs and the outside resources, we are really about northeast Indiana,” said Walker. “The two programs changed names to Community Care of Northeast Indiana and Community Thrift. We felt that God has called us here, but God has called us to do more.”
The two building spaces on Main Street were available for lease with renovations made to accommodate the needs of Community Thrift and a space for the resource center. “The Gerber’s created this space for our needs and we can do even more in the community and make a greater impact,” explained Walker. “We will continue to offer resource funding and clothing for families in need at one location.”
Individuals looking for resources can come to the resource center and go through a process in order to see what assistance is available. Walk ins are welcome during business hours Monday through Friday from 8:30am to 5pm or call at 260-353-1004. “Our organization may need to connect people with long-term help,” explained Walker. “This isn’t about a short-term fix; it’s about changing a lifestyle.”
“We love Wells County, it’s been good to us, and we are appreciative to what this community has given us,” stated Walker. “It takes a large body to make great things happen and we are excited to see what is next.”
Walker told the crowd that the building used to be called Road’s at one time. “With that history, we say it’s a new journey and a new
road that Community Care of Northeast Indiana is going down.”
Pictured in the photo is Walker surrounded by board members, staff, and Chamber of Commerce supporters.