September 28, 2005
One year ago a program was born to help people with long-term health conditions stay in their own homes and maintain a better quality of life. Faith in Action celebrated its first birthday Sept. 21 with an appreciation lunch for its volunteers.
Coordinator Jill Dant recalled that in its infancy, the program had six volunteers.
“A lot of things have happened in a year,” she said. There are now 45 volunteers, but more are needed. There is a training session Oct. 5, and she hopes to train at least 10 more volunteers.
“It’s hard to tell how many people are waiting for help; some have filled out applications but haven’t requested services,” she said.
There are probably many more people who could be helped by the program but who don’t know about it.
“The problem is reaching people who need the help but aren’t connected — with a church or with someone who knows about the program,” said Carol Keightley, who has been on the advisory board since last year. “I’m sure there are many people out there who could use our services but we don’t know who they are.”
Those services include transportation to and from appointments; helping with errands, shopping or picking up prescriptions; friendly visits, respite care to family members who are caring for their loved ones, and light meal preparation, yard work, minor home repairs and light housework. Those requesting care are matched up with volunteers who have the time and skills required for their particular needs.
Individuals who are referred to Faith in Action Providence Community Caregivers are those who are frail or elderly, those with a physical, mental or developmental disability, and others with long-term health care needs. Volunteers are not expected to do any personal care such as bathing, taking people to the toilet, changing surgical dressings, etc., nor do they dispense medications.
There are also many ways to volunteer besides providing help to recipients: Help is needed in general office work, promotionals such as fund-raising, coordinating and greeting, and program support such as music, event planning, writing/editing, and photography.
“They match you up with where the needs are,” said Marilyn Murray, a volunteer. “I take a lady shopping who’s taking care of her mother, but I only take her about once a week. They also match you up with skills, and mine are mostly office skills, so I volunteer in the office.”
At the present time, Faith in Action only serves residents of Hood River and Klickitat counties.
For more information or to volunteer, call Jill Dant at (541) 387-6404.