Dear Friends of Great River Faith in Action,

First, let me introduce myself as the new Executive Director at Great River Faith in Action. I have been with this wonderful organization for almost four years now in the role of Business Manager and headed up our Furniture for Families program. Before that, I worked in the finance department of a mid-size pharmacy retail chain for 28 years.

As I start my new role with GRFIA, I want to focus on what we are. We are a volunteer-based nonprofit serving the elderly and struggling families primarily in Sherburne County and parts of Wright County. While we do have a small, paid staff that is all part-time to ensure outreach, volunteer/client matching, bookkeeping and all other aspects of the organization are being done, we are still volunteer-based. As you will read throughout this issue we have a need to recruit more volunteers to assist seniors and families in need. Please let us know if you can help us in making our communities better places.

One thing I always like to say about GRFIA is that we are assisting in the community by helping the community. By this I mean we are the middle people in the whole process. Every community we serve has people that are looking to help others, and there are naturally those people that are looking for help. We assist by bringing them together, without us they may not find each other which results in a weaker community as a whole.

The elderly we serve want to remain in their homes for as long as they can. Our goal is to ensure they are able to do this for as long as it is safely possible. They are looking for rides to the doctor or grocery store, light housekeeping and some yard work to be done. It is these small tasks that they can’t do for themselves that allow them to stay in their homes. But, they need help from others to accomplish this. And, more importantly, as the neighborhood around them becomes younger (and they may have lost a spouse) they become lonely. When you volunteer through us it is not just about getting the task done but also connecting with them. You will become the person they look forward to seeing not just for the ride, but also for the conversation to the destination.

As you read through this issue, please think of ways you can help, or your company or your family. It is in these small tasks that seniors not only get the ability to stay in their homes but also the sense of pride of living there.


Darin Bohlken