Volunteers Drive 20,000 Miles to Help Elderly Neighbors in Lake County, Calif.

Starting in July 1996, Catholic Charities in Lake County, Calif., provided transportation and other services to the elderly in a rural community.

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

The day-to-day project was run by the Lake County Interfaith Volunteer Caregiver Program, a coalition of health and social service agencies and local member churches that seeks to address unmet caregiving needs in the county.

Lake County has one of the highest proportions of elders in the state, yet is one of the most medically underserved regions. The main accomplishment of the project was to provide transportation to medical appointments for elders who could not drive.

Key Results

  • In all, 58 volunteers assisted some 600 people. Many of the volunteers came from seven congregations, where the project did most of its marketing.

  • Of that, about 20 people provided more than 500 transportation services covering over 20,000 miles.

  • Volunteers also visited, provided telephone reassurance, made minor house repairs and performed small chores.