The Salvation Army Launches New Program that Taps Volunteer Base to Provide Care for Growing Population of Seniors

Volunteers to Rally around Chicago Seniors at Day-Long Service Event on South Side


CHICAGO (June 19, 2013) –  As Chicago’s baby boomer generation ages, the number of seniors between 65 and 84 years of age is expected to double by 2040.  The number of seniors over 85 is projected to triple.  Already, a senior citizen’s ability to remain in his or her home and community as they age is challenging many social service organizations which are struggling to find ways to meet the increased demand an aging population places on their services and resources.

The Salvation Army is creating an innovative solution to this problem by launching a new program called Two Are Better Than One, a community-based solution to recruit and train volunteers from area churches and organizations to provide in-home help and assistance for people who are either caring for aging parents (60 or older) or seniors raising their grandchildren.  Direct services will include transportation, light chores and housekeeping, repairs and friendly visits, as well as resources, education and support for family caregivers, including in-home respite. The Salvation Army is currently recruiting 100 dedicated volunteers for this program and will to be fully operational by September of 2013, serving an expected 300 caregivers and seniors.

“The goal of the Two Are Better Than One program is to provide Chicago’s growing number of senior citizens with the support and companionship they need to thrive,” said Stephen Lepse, Director of The Salvation Army Family and Community Services.  “Our trained volunteers will provide in-home support for a diverse group of especially vulnerable seniors and caregivers, many of whom are low-income, disadvantaged and suffer from isolation.  Many of the at-risk seniors and caregivers that The Salvation Army works with have little or no family or community support.  By creating, training and supporting a grassroots network of volunteers from local churches and community groups, we can ensure that the elderly and their caregivers have access to a dedicated community of people to embrace and support them.”

Two Are Better Than One will officially launch on Saturday, June 22.  Twenty-five to 50 volunteers from Sam’s Club, Affordable Construction and various community churches from across Chicago will be dispatched to the properties of seniors who live alone to perform hands-on projects such as building fences, mowing lawns and painting garages.

The Two Are Better Than One program was made possible by a $10,000 grant from the MetLife Foundation and the National Alliance for Caregiving.  The Salvation Army Metropolitan Division is one of 10 organizations nationally to receive a grant to replicate caregiver support and education programs in their local communities. This program is also funded by a $225,000 grant from The Salvation Army’s Thomas Lyle Williams Trust Fund, to be awarded over five years.  To volunteer or for more information on the program please call 773-794-6299.

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The Salvation Army is the largest social service organization in the world and the single largest direct provider of social services in Chicago and the state of Illinois.  The Army operates 200 points of entry in neighborhoods across the greater Chicago area, providing disaster relief, shelter, meals, rehabilitation programs, child care and head start, senior services and more.  On any given night, about 900 people are sleeping under a Salvation Army roof.   In 2010, The Army celebrated 125 years of service in Chicago.  The Salvation Army is there every day, 24-hours-a-day in Chicago and throughout the country providing disaster relief to people in crisis.

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