Every year in January, we present our Annual Report to the Wayne Township Board for approval. Our Annual Meeting this year was on January 15, and I am happy to report that the Board approved our Annual Report as presented. I review our statistics often throughout the year, but preparing and presenting the Annual Report, gives me one more opportunity to look at our numbers and see how we are doing.
The statistics shown in the Annual Report allow us to compare the past year with previous years. For example, in 2012, our office received almost 14,000 requests for Township Assistance, compared with the 12,500 requests we received in 2011. At one time or another during the year, we helped over 19,000 persons with their basic necessities compared to 15,300 the previous year.
I could tell by how crowded our lobby has been during the past year that in spite of the improving economy, many persons in Wayne Township still need our help to keep a roof over their heads, their lights on, their homes heated and food on their tables. Our figures show that in 2012 we helped over 8,200 persons with their utility bills and 3,650 with their rent or mortgage payments. We helped 3,500 with food assistance from Township funds and that does not even count the food assistance we provided through the Farm Wagon program and our Food Pantry.
We saw a jump of 25 percent this year in the number of funerals and burials or cremations we helped finance for low income families who could not otherwise afford to pay for a funeral for their loved ones. The Township can only pay for a very basic funeral, and it saddens me that we cannot do more for the grief stricken families who come into our office. Handling these funerals is very emotional for our staff too and I must thank them, especially our Lead Investigator Cindy Mahler, for the compassion they show to the families.
Another statistic we compile for our Annual Report focuses on our Workfare Program. When a physically-able client receives financial help through the Township, that client is required to perform work for a non-profit or governmental agency. The number of hours the client works at the non-profit or governmental agency is determined by the amount of assistance received.
Our Annual Report shows that our clients performed over 32,000 hours of work at non-profit or governmental agencies in Allen County in 2012. The clients are not paid by the agencies for the hours they work. Many non-profits would be hindered in providing services without the numerous hours of help provided by our clients. Calculated at the minimum wage, the value of the hours of service provided by our clients in 2012 to non-profits and governmental agencies was $233,360.
Another very important figure in the Annual Report is the number of persons helped by Wayne Township through programs that don't cost taxpayers anything. These are called "Special Non-Traditional Programs Provided Through the Township Without the Expenditure of Township Funds." Among these programs were our Holiday Celebration, financed by community donations, and our "Clothing Emporium" for which we collect donated clothing to give to individuals in need. Programs such as these helped 3,117 persons with services valued at $150,600.
I am very saddened to announce the passing of one of our staff, Ms. Kim Walker. Kim fell ill at our office and passed away very suddenly on January 10. She worked in our Payee Department with our payee clients. Kim's sunny disposition and her smile will be greatly missed by me, and our staff, as well as by the clients whom she served.
Richard A. Stevenson, Sr.
Wayne Township Trustee