Church sends help to the elderly Partners In Care assists with visits, doing errands

June 19, 1996|By Consella A. Lee | Consella A. Lee,SUN STAFF

The Rev. Gene Nikol of Holy Trinity Parish Church in Glen Burnie knew from monthly visits to elderly parishioners that many were lonely and needed help running errands.

But until November, he didn't know where to turn for help.

Then Holy Trinity linked up with Partners In Care to assist elderly and disabled church members and neighbors.

Partners In Care, a 3-year-old nonprofit organization based in Glen Burnie, puts needy people in contact with volunteers who provide rides to doctors' offices, grocery stores, pharmacies, banks and post offices. Volunteers also do light housekeeping and lawn work, and offer companionship.

Sister Vera Green, 66, of Glen Burnie brought the organization to Nikol's attention in November. Members of a church spiritual renewal group were looking for a way to help out in the community.

Green was familiar with Partners In Care because the organization had provided someone to watch her mother and aunt two years ago while she worked at the church. Her mother and aunt died six days apart in December.

After Nikol met with administrators from Partners In Care, he gave the project his blessings. He said it's the church's way of helping with "the little things" while answering God's call to serve.

Maude Helmick, 83, of Glen Burnie stopped driving eight years ago and depends on the volunteers to get around. "It means a lot to me, taking me to the doctor and all that," Helmick said.

Joanne Ingerson, 42, of Glen Burnie has lupus, which makes her allergic to almost everything and she can't take public transportation because that aggravates her condition, she said. She also doesn't drive much.

Ingerson said after she broke her leg last year, she came to depend even more on the volunteers.

"My family doesn't live close by, so I don't have anyone else I can depend on. But I know I can call them," she said of Partners In Care. "Without them, I wouldn't have been able to get to most of my appointments."

Maureen Cavaiola, volunteer coordinator for Partners In Care, praised the church for helping others. "They are a church without walls, and that's what we're really trying to do -- to reach out and give the help to whoever needs it," Cavaiola said.

"We felt there was a need out there just because we had all taken care of sick relatives, and we just felt there was a need out there to help out," said Vera Sharp, 62, of Pasadena. "It gives you a good feeling to do something for someone that you know is lonely and you made feel a little better that day."

The eight Holy Trinity volunteers are among 200 in the county who help 700 clients. Partners In Care administrators said volunteers and clients often learn about the program through word of mouth. Both must go through an informal interview before they are accepted in the program.

Volunteers are not required to donate a set number of hours or days to the program. When someone needs help, they receive a call from workers at Partners In Care.

To thank volunteers, the program gives them one credit for every hour volunteered to be used in exchange for household services or donated to someone else.

For more information on Partners In Care, call 553-8054.

Pub Date: 6/19/96

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