Fifty-two years ago, Canal Winchester Human Services began serving residents living in the school district, and even though boundaries have blossomed, the need for help is as great or greater than it was in 1955.
Programs proving emergency assistance, food, clothing, and school supplies are now joined by an active senior transportation system in partnership with neighboring entities, along with a host of community events from after prom parties to lunches for seniors.
Even on a limited budget of $102,225-with income derived from the village, county agencies, the Columbus Foundation, and private/public donors-Human Services manages to offer financial assistance for those with legitimate requests, "adopt" 226 people during the holidays with gifts and fixings for a holiday dinner, and handle the transportation needs of more than 150 clients.
In May 2006, the department received a new handicap van and is adding another vehicle to the fleet this fall. Human Services partners with Canal Winchester, United Way of Fairfield County, and Madison and Violet townships in providing free transportation to appointments and shopping for the elderly and disabled.
CW Human Services Director Penny Miller said in her 2007 grant application, emergency assistance includes help with rent, utilities, medical and dental bills, etc. Since 2005, humans services has administered the program on a matching basis and requires the client to participate in their circumstance, rather than have the program just be the source of a free hand-out.
In participating in community events, Miller said, "We discovered that as many as one-third of the 150-175 residents (Winchester Place) rarely, if ever, had an outside visitor. We have begun a program of visiting Winchester Place each quarter and spending time with every patient."
Human Services also will serve the Tuesday lunch at the senior center twice during 2007.
For the second year in a row, grant funding for Canal Winchester Human Services will exceed $90,000. Miller asked Canal Winchester Village Council during its July 16 meeting to consider a $12,285 grant request to help fund the administrator’s job position.
"The position was supposed to be five hours a week, but this year it will be a full-time position until the end of the year. Everything we do has an impact on volunteers and customer service satisfaction," said Miller. "We’re actually doing more with less funding. In many ways, Human Services partners hand-in-hand with the village."
Council President John Bender commended Miller for her work as an administrator and Mayor Jeffrey Miller said she has gone well above and beyond the call of duty in serving the residents of the village.
"She has offered so much help and assistance at the community center," said the mayor. "It’s the level of trust she has with the relationships she has with the seniors there."
Other CW news
•Mayor Miller said pressure tests at the new water well fields are going as planned and cooler days coupled with additional rainfall helped water tower levels recover.
•The mayor commented on waste water issues with Lithopolis and reported on a letter sent to Lithopolis granting permission to begin development on the Griffith property.
"They then applied to Ohio EPA, whom, at this point, looks as if they are not going to issue permits based on the same facts that we had offered originally," stated Miller in his report to council. "This matter is really between Lithopolis and Ohio EPA. We will comply with our obligations to the existing contract."
Public Works Director Matt Peoples said the EPA discovered Lithopolis is well over its 250,000 gallon contract capacity. He reported the EPA projected usage at 400,000 gallons, although the agency said they looked at the numbers and were unsure if projections were correct. Peoples said Lithopolis has withdrawn its request for additional capacity.
•Law Director Gene Hollins said he hopes to have a draft of a sexual offender ordinance ready for comment at the committee of the whole meeting July 30.
•Fairfield County Sheriff Deputy Sgt. Kirk Kern said he plans to have questions answered and a draft procedure for golf cart licensing available by the next regular council meeting.