Friday, June 23, 2023
AUBURN, Ind. – A small, but mighty group of local volunteers are doing their part in the community to help their neighbors with projects they can’t complete.
The ministry, which isn’t affiliated with any local religious organization, was started in July 2007 with the formation of Steps of Care, which had a close affiliation with NeighborLink. In 2009 the non-profit organization dropped the first part of its name and became known as NeighborLink DeKalb County.
Jean Ferrell, executive director, and founder of the group said, the ministry provides a link between those neighbors in need to those who want to help.
Ferrell said after nearly 16 years of serving DeKalb County the group is in need of volunteers, who want to make a difference in their community. She stressed the group needs a younger group of volunteers.
“It feels like so many people in the county have forgot who we are,” she said.
With a new website up and running, www.neighborlinkdekalbcounty.org, Ferrell said now is the perfect time to make a push for more projects and more volunteers. The new website gives residents an easy way to volunteer, donate or request assistance.
In 2022 the group completed 61 projects, to date the group has completed 22 projects in 2023.
NeighborLink is a faith-based ministry that reaches out to those in our community that are in need, linking them to those that can assist with fulfilling that need. The non-profit organization helps those that struggle physically or financially with home related tasks, matching them to volunteers that can do the work.
Ferrell said almost all work will be accepted except for roofing projects and complete remodels inside residents’ homes.
She said the organization works closely with the United Way of DeKalb County’s Day of Caring, Friday, June 23. The Day of Caring allows the non-profit to knock out multiple projects on the list as volunteers from across the county take part in a day of caring for the community. Ferrell shares projects with the United Way's annual program. The organization currently has 31 projects to be completed.
One of the big projects during the annual Day of Caring is the assembly of ramps for those residents who have trouble maneuvering stairs.
For Ferrell the organization is about so much more than just completing projects, its about getting to know your fellow neighbor. Over the year’s Ferrell has made friendships with several of the residents her organization has assisted over the years.
“We get to hear stories and make friends here in DeKalb County,” she said. “It is amazing to hear those stories and make those connections.”
The organization is funded through local grants and donations from residents within the county. Ferrell said a special thank you goes to the Community Foundation DeKalb County, the James Foundation and United Way of DeKalb County.
The non-profit will have a fundraiser concert from 7:30-9:30 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 9 at the DeKalb County Outdoor Theater. The Band Cheyenne will be performing, thanks to an anonymous donor with all donations going to Neighbor Link. Raffle items will be available along with a food truck.
Ferrell said none of the work within the county would be possible without the volunteers and the organization’s board of directors. The board of directors include Tyler Cleverly, Doug Donaldson, Matt Liggett, Brandy Coburn, Patrick Martin and April Dobson.
“The board of directors is phenomenal, everyone brings something unique to the board,” she said.
For more information on the group or to volunteer visit the website www.neighborlinkdekalbcounty.org. Donations can be sent to PO Box 48, Auburn, IN, 46706. For those who don’t have internet contact the organization at 260-572-1472.