FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – The stay-at-home order is easing up but need is not. That’s why the Fort Wayne Boys & Girls Clubs is extending its Healthy Habits Care Packets giveaway.
“I’m here because it’s been kind of rough with all the COVID-19 stuff going on,” said 29-year-old Asmaa Tariq. She is one in a long line of people whose needs stretch far beyond their pocketbooks during this pandemic. “I’m an Uber drive and it’s been starting to pick up but it’s been quite tough trying to find people who need rides and stuff so it’s putting a big financial burden on me.”
To help ease some of that burden Tariq and others waited in line for free Healthy Habits Care packets from the Fort Wayne Boys & Girls Clubs on Fairfield Avenue. “I’m hoping it’s going to help a lot,” said one woman.
Once a week for about a month, hundreds have lined up to get these pandemic health care supplies. The bags come with things like detergent, toothpaste, shampoo and masks plus information about COVID-19. “It’s the right thing to do,” said Fort Wayne United Director and co-organizer Iric Headley. “We’ve helped thousands. The first day we had over 1,000 people who showed up in a few hours to take those care packages that we were able to put together.”
That first day was April 23, 2020. The giveaway was only supposed to last for a week or two but Fort Wayne Boys & Girls Clubs President Joe Jordan said since then, the donations have kept coming so they decided to extend the giveaway. “We’re going to keep going until our funders and our resources are dried up and/or the demand decreases,” said Jordan. “We have so many incredible individuals and donors and foundations who have stepped up to the plate and said, hey we want to assist and help these needy families.”
Personal hygiene supplies aren’t the only things being given away. Families with small children are getting something a little extra thanks to a local doctor who just wanted to help out. “I bought a bunch of little bunnies and things so when they come through picking up their packages, they can have these,” said Dr. J. Rex Parent, an opthalmologist. “I’ve looked in the bags. There are a lot of cleaning supplies and I saw some Luv’s diapers. The stuffed animals will go to these kids. It will make them happy.”
As the giveaway grows Fort Wayne Police are on hand for crowd control and more. “Yes, we’re here for crowd control, most definitely and the people like seeing us too,” said Captain Mitchell McKinney. “We also do a lot here at the Clubs. A lot of the folks who come through here are Club kids so we get to see them even though we can’t be together.”
The next round of packets will be given away Tuesday, May 12 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Clubs’ main entrance at 2609 Fairfield Avenue in Fort Wayne. Giveaways will take place through the month of May every Tuesday and Thursday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.