The Friends In Action Story
Friends in Action is a nonprofit organization offering a range of free and low-cost programs and services that support health, fitness and life-affirming leisure activities.
Back in the Fall of 2003, Friends In Action (FYI) launched with its first client- an older woman in Ellsworth who needed weekly visits to a medical facility for regular blood checks but had no way to get there. It was exciting for us and especially for her because this retired nurse valued her independence. Back then we were an unknown non-profit offering free rides under the confusing name “Faith In Action” provided by the original funding foundation. Seventeen years later Friends In Action volunteers are meeting the transportation needs of hundreds of Hancock County elders. Since then our driving services have grown by almost 400% and in 2019 in the first six months we provided 3,233 rides.
Shortly after the driving program was established we added friendly home visits, grocery shopping, simple home repairs and other one-to-one volunteer services, all at no charge. In 2008 the Senior Center added the simple idea that the isolated or lonely would benefit from a regular socializing event. The “Visit With Friends Coffee Houses were created to alleviate these challenges by providing regular convivial meeting places, first in Ellsworth and more recently in Blue Hill, thanks to a grant from Thriving In Place. We have since added Stonington and Prospect Harbor. Getting together with other people to have conversation and make friends in good for your health!
In 2009 Friends In Action programs expanded in partnership with Downeast Family YMCA and the City of Ellsworth to create a Senior Center at the newly vacated Bryant E. Moore School. The City provided facility upgrades and the building is managed by the Y. Friends In Action continues to be an independent organization providing an eclectic range of senior programming and volunteer services in the Moore Senior Center. Any program fees are kept as low as possible. We do not receive any Federal or State funding to support senior services that in other states are often provided by the government. With increased financial underwriting we could expand existing programs, develop new ones, and serve more aging and disabled people throughout Hancock County.
About Friends in Action
Friends in Action is a 501 c 3 nonprofit organization, founded in 2003 with the receipt of a Robert Wood Johnson Faith in Action © grant. The purpose of Friends in Action is to assist older adults and people living with disabilities so that they can live independently and with dignity.
Jo Cooper, Executive Director, has led the organization since its beginning in 2003. She has over 40 years of management and volunteer coordination experience and she lives in Lamoine. Her interests include history and gardening.
Vickie Call, Administrative Assistant.
Joanne Parkinson, Volunteer Services Director, coordinates all volunteer services requests and assists with communications. She lives in Lamoine and enjoys photography and a variety of crafts.
Jeff Jeude , Volunteer Services Assistant.
Friends in Action operates out of the Moore Community Center in Ellsworth, where it has its office and Senior Center. The Center is located at 5 General Moore Way, Ellsworth, off State Street. To reach us, please call our office at 207-664-6016 or email [email protected]. Mailing address is P.O. Box 1446. Ellsworth, ME 04605
The organization is governed by a 18 member Board of Directors. Current (January 2022) membership:
President: Charlotte Stetson (Hancock)
Vice-President: Emily Muise (Trenton)
Secretary: Mary Ann Lock (Ellsworth)
Treasurer: Zachary McNally (Sedgwick)
Members: Ross Baldree (Trenton), Lee Bingham (Surry) Kevin Davidson (Dedham), Candy Gammelin (Ellsworth), Kathleen Hughes (Hancock), Larry Johnston (Ellsworth), Deb Leavitt (Franklin), Marta Rieman (Ellsworth), Joyce Snow (Blue Hill), Micki Sumpter (Mt. Desert).