By Beth Taylor
Nancy Chance, executive director of the Good Samaritan Network (GSN), helps those in need in Hamilton County throughout the year, but her unwavering generosity is most apparent during the holiday season. On Dec. 10, over 200 volunteers donated evening hours to help unload trucks and organize the donations Chance received throughout the year for the Holiday Assistance Program.
“I started out helping 397 families in 1980; the network helped close to 26,000 families this year. The families were referred by other clubs, organizations, pantries and churches, so that’s how we know who needed assistance,” said Chance.
Head coach of the Noblesville High School football team, Lance Scheib, rallied his team around the cause. The team members moved enumerable boxes filled with toys, clothing and books. “I got an e-mail from Nancy requesting help, and one part of our football program is that we want our kids to understand how important it is to give back. We’re trying to develop servant leaders. These kids are a great example for our student body,” said Scheib.
Scheib said that the team likes to do community service as a large group because with so many hands, they can work quickly.
“This is a first-class organization, and we are lucky to have it here in Hamilton County. She (Chance) asked if she could have us next year. I told her that it’s already on the calendar,” Scheib said.
Many of the players were surprised by the needs of many local residents. “It’s kind of cool to see the impact we might have on a family’s Christmas,” said Noblesville High School senior, Jake Owen.
Chance has three storage areas in which donations are kept throughout the year. Planning to organize all of the donations began months ahead of the event. “I process-map everything in my head logistically. I’ve been thinking about it for six months. Everything works out because it’s done for the greater good… we get it done,” said Chance.
Chance was appreciative of the community’s support. She encourages adult volunteers to bring their children. “You learn to give back when you’re young,” she said.
Fishers residents Clarice McCauley and her daughter Kieran McCauley volunteered together. “We wanted to get involved to help others, especially during the Christmas season,” said Clarice. “It’s fun to help others and meet new people,” added Kieran.
Judge Brian Poindexter, judge of Carmel City Court, enjoyed the experience of working with other volunteers to help those in need during the holiday season. He serves as president-elect of the Rotary Club of Carmel, a partner of the GSN to arrange for food and gifts for those in need in the Carmel city area. “This is an extraordinary example of what a dedicated group of people can do to make Christmas better for families that are having a hard time,” said Poindexter.