As you can probably imagine, I get asked a lot of questions about Babe. A popular question I get asked: "Is Babe Needed?" What great question and a legitimate one! After all, we have so many other amazing nonprofit organizations in our county that are already hard at work helping to provide for and support families in need. But to answer, I can confidently say, "Yes! Babe of Wabash County is MUCH needed!"
Last June (2019), I set out on a journey to bring Babe to Wabash County. I started by asking many, many people and organizations this exact question: Is Babe needed? I spent hours calling different people in our county to introduce the concept of Babe and asked different people that live and work in Wabash County if Babe could be a benefit. I received an overwhelming YES!
But that wasn't enough, we needed to dig deeper. We needed to understand the statistics of our county's poverty level. What I discovered was that in 2018, the US Census Bureau documented Wabash County's poverty level at 17.4% while the national average was only at 11.8% That's an incredible, overwhelming difference! The total number of people living in Wabash County is 31,433. That means that at least 5,469 people are right now not able to consistently provide for their needs. And because our country is officially in a recession, these numbers are most likely even worse.
Another fact we that found was that there are around 1,988 children between the ages of 0-5-years-old living in our county. According to Patty Grant, Executive Director of the Community Foundation of Wabash County, 35% of all of the children between the ages of 0-6 years old who are living in Wabash County are at the poverty level. That's nearly 700 children! To put a visual to that number, picture every child at OJ Neighbours Elementary School and half of the students at Wabash Middle School!
We continued to dig further and discovered that Kids Count Data Center reported staggering numbers of homeless children living right here in Wabash. In 2009, there were 69 students in the County of Wabash who were either homeless or had unstable housing. The number drops in 2014 to only 14 students. But unfortunately, it goes back up in 2016 to 37 students living on the streets or in unstable housing. The information does not indicate specific ages of the students, but it can be assumed that some of those children represented in the statistics were preschoolers and Kindergartners, or were younger siblings of students who had been counted in the statistics. The bottom line is that having even one homeless child in our county is unacceptable.
So while there are many honorable and worthy, hardworking nonprofits doing their part to provide for our precious families, the numbers clearly show that there is still room for one more to join in the battle of combating poverty in our county. And we are ready to join the fight! Babe of Wabash is a project of the Community Foundation and we look to partner with other nonprofits that promote good health, education, and connection between families and the community. We want to not only help provide and assist families with a financial need by providing baby items to families with young children but we want to also offer classes and support groups that will benefit parents as well as their kids. If you believe in our mission, help support us by clicking on our donate button.