ADEC gives back

The individuals we serve at ADEC take great pride in giving back to the community that gives so much to them. Who knew that clients at ADEC cared so deeply about helping other people (and animals)?

Scroll through the stories on this page to learn about how the individuals we serve aid in providing meals to our neighbors who need a helping hand or help connect local agencies with businesses willing to help. You’ll see how the individuals we serve help our four-legged friends through awareness programs.

When you donate to ADEC, you help us support the individuals we serve in chasing their passions in volunteering. When you choose to give to ADEC, you have a ripple effect on the entire community.

Thank you for your support.

A paw-some way to give back

As the guys from ADEC’s Village Men’s group home quickly slipped through a crack in the door of a renovated horse barn, they were immediately swarmed.

“I’m in kitty heaven!” Rex Shenefield exclaimed as he held one purring orange tabby while another cat begged for attention by bopping Rex on the head with
his paw.

Individuals from ADEC have been visiting Here Kitty Kitty Rescue weekly for the better part of 2018, cleaning and spending time with the dozens of rescued cats.

While the volunteers from ADEC help the abandoned and homeless cats learn to socialize before finding a fur-ever home, Village Men’s Manager Debbie Bloom said the time is just as beneficial for the people she serves.

She watches as the tension and anxiety melt away from Rex and his housemates, replaced by smiles as cats compete for their attention.

Who knew a visit to a local cat rescue could change so many lives — feline and human alike? The guys at Village Men’s look fur-ward to another year of volunteering at Here Kitty Kitty thanks to the support of people like you.


A purr-fect partnership

ADEC clients beautify shelters for homeless cats

Chris Bralick doesn’t think any animal should be without shelter, especially with the brutal winters we have in northern Indiana.

This past summer, Chris — the CEO of the Elkhart County Feral Cat Coalition — had an idea. What if she partnered with ADEC to paint brilliant designs on the exteriors of the ECFCC cat shelters?

Erin Smoker, one of the ADEC artists who helped on the project, felt a personal connection to the project. She got her cat, Emmy, from a rescue shelter 14 years ago.

“It feels pretty good [to help the ECFCC],” she said. “I like to help others when I can.”

The ECFCC is a nonprofit that utilizes trap, neuter and release to help control feral cat populations in the area. The shelters ADEC clients designed will be
placed in public locations to raise awareness.

Chris says she hopes the partnership will continue and create a ripple effect across the county to build awareness about treating all animals humanely.

Who knew that ADEC cared so much for needy animals in the community?

When you donate to ADEC, you help the individuals we serve give back to others in the community, even our four-legged friends!


Providing Food 4 Kids in Elkhart

ADEC volunteers help Food Bank of Northern Indiana carry out mission

Every Friday during the school year, individuals from Day Service at Elkhart push pallets of food from the Food Bank of Northern Indiana through the hallways of Beardsley Elementary.

They pause at certain classrooms, delivering sacks of food for underprivileged students to take home in their backpacks. More than 70 percent of students at Beardsley qualify for free lunches based on their family’s income. Many of those students rely on their meals at Beardsley for their only meals of the day.

Without the bag of food delivered by individuals from ADEC, the students might receive little to no nutrients over the weekend. Each sack is packed with two meal cups, two cereal bowls, two snacks, one milk and one juice — items that are nutritious, shelf-stable and ready-to-eat with little or no cooking.

Volunteers from ADEC also visit Osolo and Eastwood elementary schools, delivering snack packs to dozens of students there who might otherwise go hungry while school is out of session for the weekend.

When they enter the office of each school, the ADEC clients are greeted warmly by office staff and the school social workers, who tell them often what a big difference they are making for the students.

“Attendance is better, their learning is better,” said Marijo Martinec, executive director of the food bank. “[The students] don’t have that anxiety about wondering am I going to eat this weekend or what will I have to eat this weekend.”

Not only do ADEC’s volunteers help the Food Bank of Northern Indiana reach the students who need help the most, they do so discreetly to shield the students from any stigma associated with being hungry or needing food assistance.

The “D” in ADEC stands for “dignity” — we believe the people we serve are entitled to respect and professionalism as their daily needs are met — and the volunteers from ADEC take the word very seriously. They ensure the students at Elkhart Community Schools are afforded the same dignity and respect as they receive from ADEC.

Many times, people with intellectual and developmental disabilities are perceived as the ones in need of service. Who knew those same individuals could turn around and provide such important services to others in need?


Have a little Faith (Mission)

Clients collect food to deliver to Faith Mission of Elkhart

Who knew ADEC could serve as such a vital link between community organizations and businesses?

Stop in any 7-Eleven convenience store in the area, and you’ll find cases of fresh baked goods and coolers full of milk to accompany the treats. But what happens to those products (all with a relatively short shelf life) if they’re not sold?

Just ask individuals from ADEC’s Day Service at Elkhart. They can tell you that 7-Eleven donates their near-expiration products to local food banks — because they help make it happen.

Every Tuesday, a group from ADEC loads into a van and takes a tour of Elkhart County, stopping at 7-Eleven locations in Bristol and Elkhart, as well as the Baker’s Nook Café.

Employees at each location greet the volunteers warmly, asking how their week has been and thanking them for their time.

Once the back of the van if stocked with bags of food, the volunteers have one more stop: Faith Mission of Elkhart, a nonprofit that provides food, shelter and clothing for homeless individuals.

The volunteers from ADEC hop out of the van and deliver the bags into Faith Mission’s donation center. They work with determination and take pride in the fact that they are helping others live full lives — just like they have found at ADEC.

“I like helping other people,” says Megan Hunt, who has been volunteering through Day Service at Elkhart for more than a year. “We can make a difference together.”

“It’s a true blessing to see the dedication from the ADEC clients as they help us in our battle with homelessness.”