Faith in Action is a volunteer based organization providing homebound seniors with free non-medical services to promote their independence, dignity and quality of life.
Faith in Action was born out of the need to provide urgent care and transportation to those without it in Northwest Arkansas. It was formed as a project of the Washington Regional Foundation in 1996 through a grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Faith in Action is now funded solely from grants, Savor the Flavor, United Way of Northwest Arkansas, and donations from faith groups and individuals.
In Northwest Arkansas, there are seniors and people with disabilities living with many unmet needs, including lack of access to adequate transportation, inability to maintain their homes or living situations.
- According to 1999 Arkansas Department of Human Services statistics, 475,300 Arkansans were 60 years or older. This represents 18.7% of the population and is the sixth highest percentage in the country. Approximately 26.5% of all older Arkansans lived alone. 32.8% of older Arkansans live in six counties - two of those six are counties that Faith in Action serves -Benton and Washington Counties. In Washington County, 14.9% were 60 or older with 10.2% living below the poverty level and 7.1% living with mobility and self care limitations.
- According to the National Center of Health Statistics, in 1994-95, over 6.5 million people of the older population reported difficulties with instrumental activities of daily living which included preparing meals, shopping and doing housework.
- In the United States, according to the Administration on Aging, about 31% (9.9 million) of all non-institutionalized older persons in 1998 lived alone.
With the growing elderly population and lack of family support, many in our communities are being admitted to nursing homes prematurely because they can't meet basic needs and have no where to turn for assistance. Even worse, they feel overlooked by the same community they love so much. For example, a 77 year-old man living alone in a rural area of NWA, was unable to do the basic necessities, such as driving a car, cooking or cleaning his home. He had no family and no one to turn to for help. Except Faith in Action. Because he had so many needs, four volunteers were matched with this gentleman and are enabled him to remain in his home and feel valued. The volunteers provided over 30 hours a month of visiting, cleaning, shopping and helping with chores all in the name of love.
Faith in Action relies solely on volunteers to provide services. Volunteer time is very flexible. Depending on what the volunteers choose to do, they can work as little or as much as they want as it fits into their schedule. Volunteers attend a two to three hour training that prepares them for their volunteer experience. Volunteers also receive a comprehensive training manual for reference.
Faith in Action volunteers are friends who visit and do what they can to make a real difference in the life of the needy individual or family. Click here for more information on volunteering, upcoming training dates and a printable volunteer application.