Funding Revitalizes a Project that Serves the Elderly in D.C.

Faith in Action: Replication of the Interfaith Volunteer Caregivers Program

During 1995 and 1996, staff at the Emmaus Services for the Aging, in Washington, revitalized its programming and adding more volunteers and services.

The project was part of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) Interfaith Volunteer Caregivers Program, Faith in Action®, Generation 2 and Generation 3 national program.

The Problem: Emmaus Services for the Aging was founded in 1978 by a coalition of five churches in downtown Washington, D.C., to assist vulnerable elderly people. Among its services were grocery delivery each month to the homebound poor, weekly visitors, assistance with Medicaid forms and other paperwork, and transportation to doctors' appointments.

At the time of the grant, however, Emmaus had gone through two difficult years in which it experienced a severe funding crisis, lost its five-person staff and lost contact with many of its volunteers. Emmaus Services wanted to hire a full-time volunteer coordinator who could revitalize the congregational support group and expand it from an ecumenical group to an interfaith group. All of the founding congregations represented Protestant denominations.

Key Results

  • Emmaus Services for the Aging more than doubled its number of volunteers to 440 active members who served 427 care recipients. Volunteers also provided housecleaning, friendly visiting, telephone reassurance and transportation to doctors' appointments.

  • Emmaus Services for the Aging expanded the number and type of faith communities that were involved with the organization.