Hancock County among the most generous

I want to do a little bragging on the amazing Hancock County community.

I have had the great pleasure of possessing what some consider a talent as being an auctioneer. We have done hundreds of benefit auctions in my career all over the state of Indiana and in Kentucky, Florida and New York. All kinds of reasons, but they are all very worthy causes.

I just did one at a very nice Indianapolis hotel. The group organizer told me, “Now we have numerous people in the audience with deep pockets, so I would anticipate they will pay big money for these items.” I actually chuckled to myself because I’ve been told that hundreds of times. No matter what the fancy venue or state, I would say by far the most generous community I’ve ever sold for are the people in Hancock County, Indiana.

Deep pockets or not, the people in our community always step up and give, then give a little more. Carl Denny, director of Hancock Hope House, is also the founder of 40,000 Pounds of Giving. The first year of that program, Mr. Denny met with the mayors of Shelbyville, Indianapolis and Greenfield. He took a semi-trailer that holds 40,000 pounds to each city and put on a benefit drive to collect food and toys for kids. Shelbyville collected about 5,000 pounds of food. Marion County held the event at Monument Circle and had live TV coverage. It collected 7,000 pounds of food. Then Greenfield/Hancock County held its event and collected 14,000 pounds of food.

I had the pleasure of helping with that event, and when all the food was collected, it was amazing to watch it all disappear as representatives of Hancock Hope House, Kenneth Butler Memorial Soup Kitchen, Hancock County Food Pantry, Brandywine Community Church and other groups all loaded it up so that people from Hancock County could benefit.

I also remember a little wager between the Rotary Club and Kiwanis, as I was president of the Rotary Club at the time. The club who collected the least amount of food was to make a $100 donation to charity in the name of the winner. I delivered the hundred dollars to Kiwanis, and I remember how nice they treated me, and I loved that portion of “crow” they served me for dinner. Two amazing clubs having a good time for the benefit of our community.

In 2014, Mr. Denny himself arranged for a huge donation of food, and the 40,000 pounds of giving in Hancock County raised 125,000 pounds of food.

I was one time flown to New York City. (That’s a big town in case you’ve never been there). I did an auction for the Rotary Gift of Life Program. The club that hosted me is the actual club who started the Gift of Life Program. I think I sold several hours and raised $10,000. The group was just amazed and said that was the biggest event it had had.

I was actually a little disappointed because I’m used to doing the event for the Greenfield Rotary Club, where if we don’t hit $50,000, I’m disappointed in myself. The difference: People of Hancock County.

I’m also on the grant committee for the Hancock County Community Foundation, another amazing organization. It has had two Match Day programs, in which various non-profit groups can raise funds to help with their causes. It has been done on two occasions, and a total of $430,776.32 was raised in 48 hours.

I’ve done benefits before for people who have been ill. After they have become well, they want to give back and have raised many thousands of dollars more than they received. They pay it forward.

If you are reading this and are a member of this great community, you definitely need to be thankful. If you are reading this and want to be a member of an amazing, generous community, start planning to make your home in Hancock County.

Wayne Addison is chief probation officer for the Hancock County Probation Department.