Good Samaritan Network of Hamilton County
When Nancy Chance was visiting her grandfather at the age of 4, she saw six men jump from a train and gather under a bridge for shelter. When she speculated that they might be hungry, her grandfather challenged her to come up with a solution. She cut her own sandwich into six pieces, walked to the bridge, and distributed it to the homeless men. That rare combination of pragmatism and compassion is still Nancy’s gift. In 1995, she founded the Good Samaritan Network, which connects clubs, agencies, and businesses in Hamilton County, Indiana, to share resources and unite for the common good rather than duplicate efforts and compete for funding.
Having experienced tough times as a child when her father was injured and hospitalized for months, Nancy says: "It’s hard to get a total picture of the working poor—families who struggle at low-paying jobs or have two or more part-time jobs with no benefits. It only takes one emergency to derail a family."
Numbers tell the story: Good Samaritan unites 64 agencies, 240 churches, 9 township trustees, 32 food pantries, and 3 free medical clinics to serve 20,000 people a year with everything from food to used cars. Nancy directs its efforts while working full-time as a blood bank coordinator. The former sheriff of Hamilton County, Douglas G. Carter, puts it this way: "Nancy is known all around the county as the go-to person. There is never any doubt that if there is a way to help, she will."