Archive for Friday, October 30, 1998


October 30, 1998


Interfaith Caring Neighbors volunteers have been helping Lawrence residents for almost three years.

Local churches will be asking parishioners on Sunday to pray for the efforts of a Lawrence volunteer organization that helps homebound elderly residents.

Interfaith Caring Neighbors (ICaN) has helped more than 120 Lawrence residents aged 60 and older with shopping and household chores and has provided companionship.

This Sunday is the second ICaN Sunday, said Rita Mika, ICaN director. The organization has an office at Trinity Lutheran Church.

"Churches in the Lawrence community are partners with us, and support us with prayers, financial donations, volunteer coordinators and volunteers," Mika said. "We ask them to acknowledge the program with their congregations, and honor it in whatever way they can."

The main goal of ICaN Sunday is awareness, not donations, for the volunteer organization.

"We provide friendly visiting services, from in-home visits to telephone calls, and grocery shop for them (the homebound) or with them," Mika said. "We have a `handy-person' service, where we'll do light maintenance. We also provide caregiver respite.

"The program is designed to help adults stay in their home and maintain their independence, but there are some restrictions on what we can do."

ICaN started in January 1996 with a $25,000 grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Mika said the group's original director, Glenna Herd, based the idea on a similar program in another city. Herd and ICaN volunteers were honored at a recognition dinner on Oct. 15 at the First Christian Church.

The ICaN board includes three ministers, representatives of 14 partner churches, as well as the directors of the local Meals on Wheels and the Douglas County Visiting Nurses Assn.

A volunteer training session is set for Nov. 10. For more information, call the ICaN office at 749-2005. About 100 volunteers have participated in the program so far.

"We explain what the different areas are that volunteers can fill and determine how they can help us," Mika said. "We do some training on active listening and being aware of the elder's needs."

-- Chris Koger's phone message number is 832-7126. His e-mail address is

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