Posted on November 27, 2023
Through the Nonprofit Spotlight series, Advancing Macomb highlights the work of a Macomb-County-based nonprofit. This month we feature Interfaith Volunteer Caregivers (IVC).
Volunteering to give someone a ride may seem like a simple gesture, but to a low-income senior or disabled adult without access to transportation, it can be life changing.
Marie, a senior citizen in Macomb County, was struggling with ongoing eye problems but did not have transportation to see a specialist for a needed procedure. Thanks to Interfaith Volunteer Caregivers and a generous volunteer, Marie received a ride to the Kellogg Eye Center at the University of Michigan. When Marie arrived for her procedure, she could not see her volunteer driver. When she met him to return home, she could see him clearly.
Interfaith Volunteer Caregivers provides a wide variety of support services to help older and disabled adults in Macomb, Oakland and St. Clair counties who are struggling to remain safe and independent in their own homes. Volunteers provide free services such as transportation to doctor appointments, light housekeeping, yard work, indoor chores, minor home repairs and friendly visits.
The organization was founded by a group of local religious leaders who were concerned about the gaps in services for seniors and disabled adults. With support from the Area Agency on Aging 1-B and the National Federation of Interfaith Volunteer Caregivers, they were formed initially as Macomb County Interfaith Volunteer Caregivers. They later changed their name to Interfaith Volunteer Caregivers when they expanded service to Oakland and St. Clair Counties.
Interfaith Volunteer Caregivers celebrated its 30th anniversary last year and continues to grow. In any given year, IVC has approximately 500 to 600 volunteers and serves 500 clients.
Karyn Dombrowski Curro, executive director of IVC, attributes the organization’s longevity to its support from the community and its ability to adapt to the ever-changing needs of its clients. During COVID, for example, volunteers delivered groceries.
“We’ve been blessed with dedicated community partners, staff and volunteers who support our mission. The program is also very flexible and convenient. Volunteers have the choice of what they want to do. Anyone can do something to help a neighbor in need,” said Curro.
Interfaith Volunteer Caregivers also credits Advancing Macomb for their ongoing support of nonprofit organizations in Macomb County. Through Advancing Macomb, IVC participates in the monthly Nonprofit Roundtable Sessions, which allows them to network with other nonprofit organizations with similar missions. This has helped with referrals, fundraising and overall visibility.
“Advancing Macomb keeps us in the loop with what’s happening in the nonprofit community in Macomb County,” said Stacey Conte, outreach coordinator at IVC.
Looking ahead, the organization seeks to increase its volunteer pool. There are typically 200 people on IVC’s waitlist at any given time.
“More volunteers will allow us to make a bigger impact and imprint on our community,” continued Conte. “We strive to make volunteering as easy as possible with flexible opportunities. We also offer training and resources to support our volunteers.”
Individuals, churches, schools and community groups are encouraged to apply for volunteer opportunities by calling the IVC office at (586) 757-5551 or completing an online volunteer inquiry.
“Every volunteer makes a difference,” said Conte. “Even if you give one ride to one person, you met a need in that moment that no one else could meet.”
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