Trustee hopes new pantry helps meet a pressing need


Meeting a need: Jim Nolte (right) and Tom Ferguson of the Hancock County Food Pantry sort food packages for distribution to families in need. Nolte and the food pantry helped organize a mobile food pantry last December after Nolte was inundated with requests for assistance. Other similar events have been held since, and now Vernon Township will have a permanent pantry.

VERNON TOWNSHIP — Some township trustees get one, maybe two phone calls for financial assistance a year.

Jim Nolte is not one of them.

The Vernon Township trustee, in just his second year on the job, has been inundated by requests for assistance. From rent and utilities to medical bills and gas cards, Nolte has no trouble burning through the funds allocated to his office for emergency financial aid.

It’s a far cry from some of Hancock County’s other townships.

“I get one maybe or two (requests for financial assistance a year,” said Paul Cooper, Blue River Township trustee. “Some years, none.”

Nolte averages 10 a week.

And there’s only so much he can do, only so much money to give out. But instead of keeping a low profile or shying away from the need, Nolte has done the exact opposite.

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