Boone County’s Caring Center Helps Families in Need
Writer / Lynda Hedberg Thies
Photographer / Brian Brosmer
It is hard to imagine it, but one in every eight people living in Boone County are food insecure. These numbers are right in line with the national statistics that show that more than 12 percent of your fellow Boone County neighbors struggle to put food on the table. More than likely you may have passed someone at the bank, at your children’s school or even at the grocery store today and not even realized it.
The Caring Center, located in Lebanon, is committed to creating awareness that they are here to serve all residents of Boone County all year long. The organization is multi-faceted in their approach, offering support and programs to help their clients become self-sufficient. And now more than ever, they are seeking your support.
Theresa Hanners, Executive Director, has been with The Caring Center for 26 of the 40 years that they have been in operation. The Center currently serves more than 300 clients, and the biggest program they run into is the food pantry.
“Our number one goal is to end childhood hunger,” Hanners says.
Most of their clients use their services an average of at least eight to nine months a year. They have seen a trend in the past two years of more people being food insecure and not cycling out as quickly as they used to.
She added that they are seeing more generational poverty, which means this is a third generation cycling through poverty. They are working with these families to not only help them in their current situation but help them develop a plan to increase self-sufficiency.
One of the ways they work to address sufficiency is through a program called, “Getting Ahead in a Getting By World.” It is a 13-week program that they offer a few times a year to try to reach families that are seeking a way out of poverty by looking at their situation in a healthy way and help them make a plan. They strive to help these families to write their future story and break the cycle with skills and support.
“We will be launching a capital campaign soon to increase the functionality of the space where we serve our clients,” Hanners adds.
Ending generational poverty takes time but making their clients feel comfortable is critical to getting them to come in for help.
On the organization’s website there are links provided to help you discern whether you want to support their holiday meal program with goods and services or monetary donations. The Caring Center needs them all to support the many programs they offer.
The “Giving Tree” is a program that is designed to help teens receive Christmas gifts, which they hand to the parents with the Christmas meal along with wrapping paper so that they can wrap it at home. The other program The Caring Center provides is a “FUN PAK”, which stands for Families United Now – Parents and Kids. The FUN PAK program gives families the opportunity to put a package together to help another family create memories. These custom-designed packs are personalized so that the family has treats and activities that match their family. Both of these programs make a huge difference, and they need these donations soon.
With the holidays fast approaching, there are many ways that you can get involved to support The Caring Center. Hanners understands that not everyone is able to give financially or even give their time, but she says there are other ways to help.
“Just spread kindness around because it is free,” Hanners says. “People simply desire to be seen, and simple eye contact changes people and helps them feel validated when they are going through a difficult period of their life. Slow down and let people know that you care.”
For more information, contact The Caring Center call at 765-482-2020 or visit thecaringcenter.net to find out how you can make a difference in Boone County this holiday season.