Long Running Faith in Action Project Changes with the Times

Field of Work: Providing volunteer services for elderly and disabled people through interfaith programs.

Problem Synopsis: In 1983, more than 10 million American elderly or persons with chronic disabilities had limited ability to carry on such essential activities of daily living as feeding, dressing, and bathing. Such individuals usually require a mix of medical and supportive services to help with ordinary activities of daily living such as feeding, bathing, dressing, housekeeping and transportation.

Synopsis of the Work: Faith in Action, a national program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, funded hundreds of projects across the country to support interfaith volunteer caregiving. Match-Up, a Faith in Action project located in Boston, and one of the first Faith in Action projects, has survived, struggled and sometimes thrived since its initial funding in 1983. In April 2008, project director Janet Seckel-Cerrotti, who has been with the project from the start, described an organization that has shifted, moved, almost gone out of business, but kept its core mission: to help homebound elderly people with services that no one else was providing.

Key Results: The project provided friendly visits to elders, transportation to the grocery store and doctor's appointments and advocacy when elders had trouble with landlords, health insurance or other issues. The project continued to operate following the end of RWJF funding in 1986 with funding from a variety of other sources.