12/21/2018 2:34:00 PM Demand grows for Faith in Action services
MONICA LUNDQUIST Cass County Correspondent
WALKER-Theresa Eclov, Faith in Action director, met with the county board Tuesday, Dec. 18, to let the commissioners know about the growing need for volunteers and donations.
There is growing demand for that organization's services, she said.
Faith in Action is a 501(c)3 nonprofit serving all of Cass County. It began in 2001.
Trained volunteers who have passed background checks provide non-medical services to people of any age or income level. Most service users are older or disabled.
Those services include transportation to medical appointments, errands, grocery shopping, friendly visiting, minor home repairs (including building wheelchair ramps, replacing windows and doors or installing grab bars), chores and household tasks, caregiver respite and support, home meal delivery and information and referrals.
They coordinate transportation services with the county's senior and veteran transportation programs, Eclov said.
Transportation needs have doubled in the last five years, Eclov said, increasing to 121,000 miles driven so far this year. Faith in Action has a van, which can carry up to two wheelchair-using clients and their family attendants.
Eclov said medium-income families in Cass County spend one-third of their budget on transportation, because it is a rural community.
Volunteer drivers receive a mileage reimbursement and are covered by Faith in Action's liability insurance.
Overall, Faith in Action got 191 requests for service per month in 2017 and served 276 people.
While many who use these services are older people, the average age of volunteers is 69, she said.
Grants pay 45 percent of the Faith in Action budget, but fundraisers and donations from businesses, churches and service users pay the rest of budget. There is no requirement to pay for services, however.
Faith in Action helps coordinate with Lutheran Social Service to provide frozen home-cooked meals, which can be delivered to those who do not live in a town where congregate meals are offered.
Eclov gave the county board a sample of some of Faith in Action's regular costs:
Faith in Action office monthly rent and utilities-$325.
Volunteer mileage to take a person three times per week to dialysis-$550.
Delivering 140 meals twice a month to Bena-$200.
Volunteer mileage for one trip to the St. Cloud VA hospital-$98.
Coordinating one month's respite care volunteers for one caregiver-$50.
Second publication rights after Brainerd Dispatch.