SEASIDE - Partners for Seniors - Faith in Action, a new community coalition formed to establish an interfaith volunteer caregiver program serving senior citizens in Clatsop County, has received a $35,000 grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

The coalition will offer a variety of services to seniors not currently available through government and agency organizations, said Terri Schleiss, administrator at the nonprofit Necanicum Village Assisted Living Facility in Seaside. A primary focus will be providing seniors with linkages to community resources and agencies that can promote physical, spiritual and emotional wellness, Schleiss said. One-to-one relationships between volunteers and care recipients will be fostered.

The Faith in Action interfaith volunteer caregiver program model is part of a $100 million initiative by the Princeton, N.J.-based Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to create 2,000 new Faith in Action sites across the nation. The initiative behind submitting the grant came from Pacific Senior Housing Inc., the nonprofit owner of Necanicum Village, and other local coalition members Cannon Beach Community Presbyterian Church, North Coast Family Fellowship, Our Lady of Victory/St. Peter the Fisherman Parish and Our Saviour's Lutheran Church.

Libbie Allen of Cannon Beach has been appointed executive director of Partners for Seniors - Faith in Action. She will be working with established health and service organizations in the community to identify seniors in need. Allen will also be looking for opportunities to provide support for ongoing efforts such as the local Alzheimer's support group or advanced care planning teams.

Volunteers with Faith in Action may be involved in simple tasks such as checking in daily on the homebound, handyman-type tasks, grocery or pharmacy runs, or other activities designed to help seniors stay in their homes as long as possible. Volunteer information and training sessions will be announced in upcoming months.

For information on the program, call Libbie Allen at (503) 436-2445.

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