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November 12, 2012

Volunteers sought for new nonprofit group

Staff Report
The Daily Star

---- — Caring Connections, a local nonprofit service that aims to connect faith communities and service agencies, is seeking volunteers to begin serving the area in early 2013. 

According to a media release from lead agency Catholic Charities, the effort began about a year and a half ago when representatives from several area faith communities and social service agencies began to meet to explore ways the faith communities could better support these agencies. Many faith communities were seeing an increase in visits from people in need searching for assistance. 

From these beginning conversations grew an idea, the release said: a service that listened, interviewed and assessed those in need and then referred to the appropriate agencies, helping with phone calls and appointments. Area faith communities could send visitors in need to this service knowing that trained volunteers would listen carefully and help connect those in need to area services.

Should a need arise that didn’t qualify for those existing services, this new program could connect with the area faith communities to meet the need, with several communities working together to cover the cost, the release said.

The resulting Caring Connections program will be a volunteer-run service housed within the offices of Catholic Charities at 176 Main St.

Applications for volunteers will be accepted throughout November, and interviews scheduled for the end of the month.

In January, Mary O’Connor of Catholic Charities will lead a one-day training for volunteers in preparation for a launch shortly thereafter. 

The service is scheduled to be available from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. weekdays. According to the release, volunteers will be asked to work four hours every two weeks.

Duties will include some paperwork, including assessment forms, and communicating with various service agencies as well as within the Catholic Charities office. 

Applications for prospective volunteers are available at the office, as well as at the office of the First United Methodist Church at 66 Chestnut St. Volunteers will be subject to a background check. For more information or to schedule an interview, call 432-0061.