Bonnie Elberson
Freelance Writer
December 9, 2015 // Diocese

Sharing the warmth in northeastern Indiana

Bonnie Elberson
Freelance Writer

Two employees of Eaton Corporation arrive at Catholic Charities’ offices in Auburn with coats for the center’s “Share the Warmth” coat giveaway. The coats were purchased and donated by the Eaton Corporation.

AUBURN — Many families will be sharing the warmth this winter as Catholic Charities’ Auburn Community Service Center assists those in need by providing them with new or gently used winter coats. A program of more than 10 years’ standing, the center’s “Share the Warmth” coat giveaway attracts families who need warm outerwear to brave Indiana’s chilly winter temperatures.

Director Patti Sheppard notes that the center serves four counties, DeKalb, Lagrange, Noble and Steuben, and is open to the public. Last year more than 1,200 coats were distributed and this year’s numbers are expected to rise as word spreads and temperatures dip to freezing.

Sheppard is especially grateful to Eaton Corporation in Auburn for their recent donation of brand new coats with a retail value of nearly $3,000 for the annual effort. “They’ve always assisted us,” she says. They know there’s a “pretty desperate need.”

Eaton Corporation is a diversified power management company and global technology leader, and its Auburn facility designs, engineers and manufactures clutch components for the global commercial vehicle industry.

This corporation with a heart helps Catholic Charities in other ways, as well. Just recently Eaton employees donated their time to paint the center’s offices and they’ve made many generous donations to the community center food pantry. They’ve also given school supplies to the “pack a backpack” effort, providing them to children whose families qualify through the schools’ free and reduced lunch programs. “They’ve contributed for many years,” Sheppard adds.

Auburn Community Service Center’s food pantry serves 450 families each month. “We’re quite busy with that,” says Sheppard, and many of those shopping for food also take advantage of the additional programs. She tells of one Ligonier family who came to get their children’s backpacks filled with school supplies and were delighted to leave with warm winter coats for everyone. The center provides one-stop shopping for many needy families.

“We’re very fortunate,” says Sheppard. “This is a very caring and giving community.” People volunteer, sharing their time, their talents and their money, she adds.

And good corporate citizens like Eaton Corporation make the job of assisting the less fortunate a whole lot easier.

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