Rising service demand spurs change at Faith in Action in Georgetown

Faith in Action has 360 people who volunteer as drivers for the nonprofit, including Barry Harding, shown offering free transportation service to a client.nCourtesy Faith in Action

Faith in Action has 360 people who volunteer as drivers for the nonprofit, including Barry Harding, shown offering free transportation service to a client.nCourtesy Faith in Action

With the growing need for more door-to-door transportation for Georgetown residents in their senior years, staff and board members at the nonprofit Faith in Action spent much of 2018 taking close looks at ways to improve the organization, which provides volunteer service that gives clients rides to medical appointments, shopping trips and other excursions.

Executive Director Vickie Orcutt said the re-evaluation was driven by ongoing expansion at Faith in Action, which was founded in 2001 with just three part-time volunteers and has since grown into an agency with six paid staff members, a network of about 360 volunteers, and more than 800 clients.

“This was the appropriate time to begin to assess that structure,” Orcutt said.

Changes included transitioning the nonprofit’s board of directors into a governing role instead of one focused more heavily on day-to-day administrative tasks. Other updates involved changing bylaws regarding board member appointments made by Faith in Action’s sponsoring churches and setting three-year term limits for board members, Orcutt said.

Lettie Lee, the chairperson of Faith in Action’s board, said providing stability for the nonprofit as the changes take effect will be a top priority for board members during the next 12 months.

“Moving to a governing board has been a big change [in] learning how to provide oversight and resources and strategic guidance,” Lee said. “That’s a difficult transition.”

Michelle Wilkerson, the nonprofit’s community engagement coordinator, said Faith in Action receives about 140 ride requests every week. Transportation is the primary service offered by Faith in Action, but it also provides other services, including a shared van-transportation program that makes trips to local grocery stores as well as other locations in Georgetown.

Most clients need transportation to medical appointments, Wilkerson said.

Door to door Source: Faith in Action/Community Impact Newspaper[/caption]

Lee said the free service helps clients live independently during their retirement years. Along with transportation, clients also benefit from the visits and companionship they share with volunteers.

Wilkerson said the volunteer system is flexible; some availability only requires a couple of hours per month.

“There’s no set schedule. There’s no set requirements, and it’s based on an online system,” Wilkerson said. “It allows a degree of flexibility. … It will change your life. Our clients are extremely grateful.”



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