By Carolyn Clay Hall, Bingham Greenebaum Doll LLP
The Indianapolis Bar Foundation (IBF), the charitable arm of the Indianapolis Bar Association, chooses a new class of Distinguished Fellows each year. Fellows commit to contributing financially to the IBF, but there is also a service component that helps the Fellows give back to the community in a non-legal way.
The idea to add a service component to each Fellows class began several years ago. In 2011 and 2013, two Fellows classes provided assistance to Second Helpings by preparing food for distribution to those in need. Second Helpings plays an important role in the community by accepting donated food to prepare meals for children and adults, then distributing those meals free of charge through local social service agencies in Indianapolis and surroundings areas.
In addition to each Fellows class volunteering for a particular organization, there are service projects available for all Distinguished Fellows and Senior Fellows throughout the year, regardless of class. For several years, Distinguished and Senior Fellows have volunteered at the Ronald McDonald House by preparing meals for the families of the children staying at Riley Hospital. In 2013, three separate volunteer events gave Fellows meaningful opportunities to participate while spending time with colleagues and family.
Distinguished and Senior Fellows are continuing their service efforts in 2014 with two volunteer events—one at Gleaners Food Bank and another at the Ronald McDonald House—planned so far. At the most recent event on July 23 at Gleaners Food Bank, approximately 20 lawyers and judges along with family members joined forces to pack 1,854 bags with nutritional food and snacks for children. These “Backsacks” are provided to local schoolchildren on Friday afternoons to ensure their access to healthy food over the weekend.
Next up, the Fellows will join together after work on the evening of September 30 at the Ronald McDonald House. Volunteers can either pitch in that night and help provide a full dinner for 35 to 40 houseguests, or they can donate items most commonly needed by the organization, including paper products, plastic ware, and other necessities needed when away from home. An invitation to Fellows will be sent soon asking for volunteers.