The Washington Regional Medical Foundation and local congregations and community groups in Fayetteville, Ark., established an interfaith Volunteer Caregivers Project to organize and train volunteers to provide services for people with a wide variety of chronic conditions in a four-county area in northwest Arkansas.
The project was part of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) national program Faith in Action, Replication of the Interfaith Volunteer Caregivers Program.
The project trained 111 volunteers and provided assistance to 172 people. Each volunteer committed to spending at least two hours each week with someone in need.
The project established a coalition of nurses, social workers, counselors, religious leaders and lay people, hospice volunteer coordinators and area gerontological professionals. The coalition worked together to lessen duplication of services and make better use of the financial and labor resources in the area.
The project increased its presence in Benton County, Ark. Benton County residents comprised an increasing proportion of the project's caseload, from 6 percent of all clients served in 2003 to 17 percent of all clients being served in 2005.