ELLSWORTH — There’s no such thing as a free ride unless you’re a senior citizen living in Hancock County.
The struggling economy hasn’t affected Faith in Action or its volunteers.
“We actually gave more rides and helped more people last year than the year before,” Faith in Action Executive Director Jo Cooper announced at the organization’s annual meeting March 11 at St. Andrew’s Lutheran Church in Lamoine.
“Actually we’ve gained more volunteers than we’ve ever had before. People are going out of their way to try to help.”
Faith in Action was founded in 2002 to help improve the quality of life for older adults and disabled people and help them maintain their independence.
One such customer is Daisy Clifford, 93, of Hancock.
Clifford moved to Hancock from Milbridge to live with her daughter and son-in-law.
“I didn’t realize how dramatic a change it would be, especially not being able to drive,” Clifford told volunteers and board members.
Before finding Faith in Action, Clifford had to rely on her family, who work full time, to take her to all of her appointments.
Clifford found Faith in Action, and now volunteer drivers to take her to appointments, which keeps her family from having to take time off work.
The organization also provided the woman with a much needed social scene.
“I was alone quite often and just plain lonesome,” she said. “Faith in Action stepped in again. Faith in Action made a difference in my life.”
Last year, Faith in Action started a weekly coffeehouse for seniors on Thursday mornings at St. Dunstan’s church.
Clifford said, “I feel as if I’ve been given part of my life back.”
In other news, Cooper announced an upcoming public outdoor art event, which will feature metal sun sculptures. Previous outdoor public art events have been Fishing with Friends, which involved large fish sculptures and Visiting with Friends, which featured hand-painted benches.
Communities in other parts of Maine have asked the organization for advice in starting similar models to Faith in Action.
The group is currently working with the Beth C. Wright Center and Maine Coast Memorial Hospital, which received a bequest recently to be used for transporting cancer patients to their appointments.
The hospital and cancer center were named Faith in Action’s Community Partners of the Year.
In other business, Pat Foster, the former Ellsworth Public Library director, was named board president. Outgoing board members Linda Elliott, Roberta Kuriloff and Gertrude Wildes were recognized for their service.
The board thanked Cooper for her work.
Faith in Action relies on community donations and small grants to maintain its operation.
For more information about how to help, call 664-6016 or e-mail [email protected].