Wayne County, IN's Philanthropic Spirit Cultivates Strong Community Ties
Community connection is a way of life in Wayne County.
Wayne County is known as a vibrant, active and charitable place to live, hosting numerous events and fundraisers throughout the year.
In fact, there are 400 diverse nonprofits in Wayne County – everything from those related to animal care and helping kids to community and business development. As a volunteer, it provides numerous opportunities to be engaged in a meaningful way.
That “giving back” mindset became even more evident when the coronavirus pandemic hit.
“Not only does our business community support our nonprofits but, during the pandemic, they pivoted to support our health care workers, too,” says Valerie Shaffer, president of the Economic Development Corporation of Wayne County.
Primex Plastics, for example, quickly shifted its attention to developing a prototype for medical face shields. Assisting in that effort was Ahaus Tool & Engineering, Contract Industrial Tooling, B&F Plastics and Hoosier Container, demonstrating a high level of collaboration among local industry.
When Wayne County schools had to close for in-person classes in March 2020, many worried about the students who relied on their schools for food and other important resources.
But a diverse group of nonprofits, restaurants, small businesses, churches and local community leaders came together to make sure students and their families had the resources they needed to support their children during remote learning.
In the end, hundreds of Wayne County residents sprang into action, volunteering their time, skills, money, building space and whatever else they could offer to help.
“We have an amazing community that has stepped up and donated food, books, money and pretty much anything a student or a family has needed,” says Melissa Todd, a Wayne County elementary school site coordinator for Communities in Schools, a national nonprofit that supports at-risk students.
And that’s just two examples of how the county came together during the pandemic, which had ripple effects across this east central Indiana community of 66,000. The coronavirus pandemic highlighted what residents of Wayne County already do on a daily basis: Support each other, no questions asked.
“Wayne County is a great place to live because as a smaller community we’re more connected to each other,” Shaffer says. “You don’t have to face challenges like COVID-19 on your own.”
Learn more about Wayne County.