This year, Hamilton County Tourism decided to pause the "holiday crazy" to honor the people for whom giving is not only an act, but a lifestyle in Hamilton County. Learn more about Tourism Gives here.
If a "Renaissance man" is a "present-day person who has acquired profound proficiency or knowledge in more than one field" (thanks, Dictionary.com), a "Renaissance volunteer" is someone who gives their time in a wide variety of ways.
Joe Trentman from Open Doors in Westfield and Don Greenlee from the Come-to-Me Food Pantry in Fishers are the wearers of many hats, the jacks-of-all-trades and true Renaissance volunteers of Hamilton County.
Open Doors in Westfield manages a food pantry, distributes clothing, refurbishes bicycles, collects children's books, gives away baskets of cleaning supplies and more to help clients. While Open Doors values all of those who help throughout the year, Joe Trentman stands out among the rest for his many abilities.
Joe works tirelessly on a variety of projects at Open Doors every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. Along with sorting food and picking up donations up to twice a day, Joe helps maintain the building and works as an all-around handyman.
"We've experienced some flooding in our building in the past," said Ann Godby, Open Doors vice president. "He's come in at midnight several times to check on things and lay sandbags. We know we can always count on Joe."
Joe is also a skilled woodworker. Over the years, he's donated his projects to Christ United Methodist Church, including a beautiful grandfather clock that has served as a donation box.
Even if you're not a handyman like Joe, here are a few ways you can give to Open Doors:
1. Donate funds to Open Doors' capital campaign to help them with the process of moving to a bigger facility.
2. Help fill up Thanksgiving baskets that Open Doors prepares to bountifully bless clients with all the fixings for a Thanksgiving dinner.
3. Help organize and sort Christmas gifts for clients.
Fishers United Methodist Church's self-sufficient food pantry handles more than 5,000 pounds of donated food items every week and has donated 1.75 million pound of food since opening in 2007! No one is more well-rounded in food pantry operations than Don Greenlee.
The food pantry purveyor has been involved with the food pantry for almost eight years. While most people think food pantry operations only involve sorting and distributing goods, Don is proof that helping the pantry run smoothly involves much more. Don not only organizes donated food, but also helps with the logistics of packing donations into the small sorting area and doing statistics. He also helps organize fundraising efforts at the Reynolds Christmas lights display in Fishers, which benefits the food pantry.
"Don started working at the pantry when we were in dire need," Come-to-Me Food Pantry director Linda Williams said. "He is truly an amazing person."
Don is also extremely involved the Fishers United Methodist Church. He's been known to serve on many committees, cook church dinners and mow the lawns.
With the upcoming holidays, the Fishers UMC food pantry desperately needs food items. Follow Don's lead and give any of the following goods:
1. Soups (cream of chicken, cream of mushroom, vegetable, chowders and thick hearty soups)
3. Toaster pastries
5. Canned chicken
6. Canned yams, potatoes, mushrooms
7. Boxed dry potatoes or stuffing
9. Chicken and beef broth
10. Canned or dried beans
11. 1-pound bags of rice
12. Beef stew and chicken and dumplings
13. Canned pastas (Spaghetti-O's and ravioli)
Donations may be dropped off at the pantry (behind Fishers UMC at 9691 E 116th St) any time on Wednesdays from 9:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. or at door 1 or 4 of the church. Visit the Food Pantry website for more information.
Thank you for your tireless giving to Hamilton County, Joe and Don!
For long-term support of Hamilton County charitable organizations through the Legacy Fund, click here.
Also, enter to win this week's "get one, give one" prize! Each week there will be give away for a pair of prizes so you can enjoy one prize and give the other away to someone special.