Faith in Action Caregivers returning to its roots, heading home to Wheeling

WHEELING — Faith in Action Caregivers Inc. is moving its headquarters from Martins Ferry back to its roots in Wheeling.

Neal Chase, president of Faith in Action’s board of directors, said the nonprofit organization plans to move to 2350 Main St., suite 2, in early April. The suite is located in the Ironworkers Union Hall building.

Currently, Faith in Action’s office is located on the third floor of St. John’s Lutheran Church’s education building at 38 N. Fourth St. in Martins Ferry. The agency has occupied that space for nearly five and one-half years. Chase and executive director Yvonne Verno said the move back to Wheeling will give Faith in Action increased visibility and improved access.

The Center Wheeling suite is located on the building’s main floor and includes a separate entrance. By contrast, a lack of handicapped accessibility has been problematic for visitors, staff and volunteers who have to climb three flights of stairs to reach the present site in St. John’s education building.

Verno said the organization also will have better opportunities to seek grants when it returns to West Virginia. She explained that more potential grant funding is available in West Virginia than is offered in Ohio.

Faith in Action Caregivers employs two service coordinators in addition to its executive director. The agency recruits volunteers from area faith communities to provide a variety of free services to older adults and people with disabilities in Ohio, Marshall and Belmont counties.

Founded in 1995 with a coalition of faith congregations, Faith in Action operated for six months in a corner of the former Greater Wheeling Council of Churches office at the Methodist Building. When Altenheim Retirement Home opened a resource center building in Wheeling, Faith in Action Caregivers moved to the new facility in October 1995 and rented office space there for 18 years.

Faith in Action moved its office to St. John’s in November 2013, after Altenheim officials decided to raze the resource center building and construct residential cottages on that property.

Chase announced plans for the upcoming relocation during the group’s 24th annual meeting, which was held Tuesday at the St. John’s site.

Reviewing the past year’s accomplishments, he said Faith in Action welcomed the first member of its new partnership program in 2018. First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Wheeling became the organization’s initial congregational partner.

Chase said additional congregational support will be sought this year. Under terms of the partnership program, each participating faith community will undertake two improvements to enhance access for older adults and people with disabilities, provide volunteers for Faith in Action and make a financial commitment to the nonprofit organization. The program sets two levels of financial support.

Also at the annual meeting, Faith in Action’s board re-elected its officers: Chase of Wheeling, president; Bruce Wille of St. Clairsville, vice president; Mark Sengewalt of Wheeling, treasurer, and Lynn Comerci of Wheeling, secretary.

Comerci, Sengewalt, Jayne Freeman and Linda S. Comins were re-elected to three-year terms on the board. The resignation of board member Ronald Morris was accepted.

Sengewalt said 121 volunteers gave over 5,500 hours of service to fulfill more than 3,300 requests from care receivers in 2018. Verno said 1,256 individuals in Ohio, Marshall and Belmont counties are active care receivers. A total of 284 people are volunteers for the faith-based ministry.

Meanwhile, Faith in Action’s board and advisory council are preparing for the organization’s new signature fundraising event, Sweet Treats and Sweet Sounds, to be held May 18 at Sandscrest Conference and Retreat Center, GC&P Road, Wheeling. With sounds of jazz provided by area musicians, the event will feature decadent desserts paired with wines and flavored coffees.

A limited number of tickets are being sold for the evening. Sponsorship opportunities also are available by calling the Faith in Action office, 304-243-5420.