Neighborlink Fort Wayne helps connect volunteers and people in need

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A Fort Wayne organization is working to fulfill what it means to be a good neighbor.

Neighborlink Fort Wayne is a non-profit that focuses on connecting volunteers with their neighbors in need. The organization hosts a website where people can choose to offer their services, or request help from others.

Neighborlink has been at it since 2003 and has finished thousands of volunteer jobs. The organization provides close to 1,700 volunteer experiences per year on average. This year, 110 projects have already been completed.

Andrew Hoffman, Executive Director at Neighborlink said it’s is an experience that both volunteers and people getting help can benefit from.

“It expands into helping individuals that want to be a good neighbor, whatever that means to them, to find meaningful ways to connect to their neighbors and have a direct, tangible impact on folks that have identified that they have needs,” Hoffman said.

The program has been so successful that 10 other cities around the country have adopted its model of connecting people. Those other organizations now use technology like Neighborlink’s website to achieve their own goals.

Volunteer opportunities range from house repair, to yard work, to just driving people around to do errands.

All of the projects Neighborlink completes are funded by private donations, grants, and corporate partnerships. They also have a partnership with the City of Fort Wayne.

Hoffman said the partnership with the city helps provide people with bigger projects like new roofing, floors, driveways and tree removal. Many of these services are offered at no cost by contractors and companies that specialize in specific areas. The partnership with the city makes funding these larger tasks possible.

“Putting on a roof at somebody’s house that can’t afford one is a pretty big undertaking, and not a lot of volunteers have the skills for that, and it can be very costly,” Hoffman said.

Bob Wennemar, from Wenway Construction, is one of the many people who has who offered his services. He put in new floors, a new patio door, two new windows and did other repairs around the house for Carl Keil.

Keil has suffered multiple heart attacks in the last few years and struggled to keep his house in shape after being out of work for five years. He has owned the home for 25 years and said he is thrilled to see it getting back to its original form.

This is just one of thousands of projects Neighborlink has helped facilitate. Hoffman said he hopes to continue to expand the program to eventually build up 100 volunteer communities.

To learn more about how you can volunteer or get help, visit Neighborlink’s website at www.nlfw.org.

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