The City of Paris annually declares the second week in September as Faith In Action Week honoring the local ministry that utilizes a large network of volunteers to help people with health conditions …
The City of Paris annually declares the second week in September as Faith In Action Week honoring the local ministry that utilizes a large network of volunteers to help people with health conditions and disabilities providing them with companionship and assistance with daily activities.
“We are a small, but busy ministry,” said Trish Hammond, president of the board of directors. “We volunteer in the community to help people remain in their homes along with providing fellowship. A large part of our efforts focus on giving the care receiver independence through the construction of wheelchair ramps, steps and handrails.”
Faith in Action of Edgar County was established in September 2003 and has built more than 510 wheelchair ramps along with providing friendly visits, transportation, help in running errands and assistance to family members who are caregivers.
“One of our biggest focuses is construction of ramps and modifying steps or installing handrails so that our care receivers are able to remain in their homes longer and can maintain their independence for as long as possible,” said Hammond.
Recently, the organization built a ramp for a three-year-old child with cerebral palsy and another five year old with limited mobility.
“The three year old was able to walk outside for the first time independently,” said Hammond. “We make it safer for people with walkers, wheelchairs and such.”
Faith In Action reaches those needing help through a referral system. Referrals may come from the family, the hospital, social workers, the senior center and other organizations. Hammond said Faith in Action tries to help as many people as possible based on its financial resources and availability of volunteers.
Being a faith-based charity, FIA is funded solely by donations.
“We use our money wisely,” said Hammond. “For example, our ramp construction crew donates the labor. We also reclaim wood from temporary ramps but sometimes have to buy new lumber. We try our hardest to be thrifty with the donations.”
The ramps are built to building codes and some are permanent while others are temporary depending on the care receiver’s needs. Each wooden ramp costs approximately $300 to $500 in material depending on what type of ramp is created and if it needs a platform.
More than ever, the local not-for-profit organization is asking for more volunteers.
“If someone is considering to give back to the community, we would gladly accept their generosity,” Hammond said.
During Faith In Action week, the organization highlights its efforts and asks for new volunteers, financial or in-kind contributions and prayers from churches and the community. At the end of the week, the volunteers are honored with an appreciation dinner at Lake Ridge Christian Church.
“We usually serve approximately 100 volunteers annually,” said Hammond.
To volunteer or make donations contact Hammond at 217-466-6388, visit the office at 239 W. Wood Street in Paris or email email@example.com.
“We are always needing caregivers and different tasks that volunteers can provide,” she said, noting seven times a year volunteers called card angels meet and send out letters to FIA recipients.
Volunteers also provide transportation, run errands and grocery shop along with visits.
At the proclamation of Faith in Action Week at the Sept. 9 Paris city council meeting, Hammond will introduce the organization’s new program director Darla Freeze and new office assistant Stacey Wilken.
“Basically the proclamation is one small event compared to what we try to accomplish year after year. Volunteering makes the world a better place, and it adds enrichment to people’s lives,” Hammond said.