Jay Yeakle was born in Marion in 1960, and has since been a devoted resident. He attended Marion High School, then started working early in life. He now oversees 33 locations of Save On Liquor in Indiana, and has been in this role over 33 years, learning a lot about leadership and building relationships.
Although a grounded businessman, Yeakle is a passionate volunteer and champion for the community. He founded “Help the Hopeful” in 1993 after being inspired by and helping a small community effort to fund heart surgeries for a neighborhood child, and a simultaneous effort to save St. Paul Catholic School, both of which were successful fundraisers.
He then rallied community members to help him initiate an annual auction to assist medically challenged children and their families. They are now in their 26th year, helping up to two dozen families each year with medical expenses. Four events take place to raise funds each year: a golf scramble, a bowling tournament, a bike ride, and a beer & wine tasting. To date, “Help the Hopeful” has raised nearly $2.4 million for approximately 220 children. Each year, the night before Easter Sunday, 100% of the proceeds are distributed to the families.
“The most challenging part is getting the word out that we exist. We want to see every child healed, but a lot of families don’t want to ask for help,” expressed Yeakle.
Yeakle said he’s proud of the giving spirit in this community. “We have a lot great people, and we take care of our people. Those from out of town are fascinated at this, but helping others is very rewarding and gratifying. I have been fortunate, and this program is a way of giving back.”
Yeakle encourages championing for your community. “Just see what is really happening out here by volunteering. Find out where you can help, then see for yourself the fruit of your work. You don’t have to get paid. You get paid by the warmth in your heart you get from it.”
Yeakle’s family also volunteers for “Help the Hopeful.” Jay has 9 siblings, a wife, four children, eleven grandchildren, and one great-grandchild with one more on the way.