Since 1975, the SEARCH (Seek Elderly Alone, Renew Courage & Hope) Program has provided volunteer support services to seniors in Androscoggin County. The program expanded to Sagadahoc County and Brunswick & Harpswell in 2004, originally operating as GBEON (Greater Bath Elder Outreach Network), to Kennebec County in 2013, parts of Lincoln County in 2015, to certain areas of Franklin County in 2017, in 4 towns in Oxford County in 2019, and in Somerset County in Spring 2019.
SEARCH helps seniors who live alone feel less isolated & lonely and more connected to a caring community, while also remaining independent in their own homes. We provide free support services via trained volunteers including companionship and friendly visits, socialization opportunities, help with errands and grocery shopping, telephone reassurance calls, assistance with home or yard projects, and information and referrals to other community services and programs when needed.
The mission of SEARCH is to enable vulnerable seniors to remain independent and create a long-term support system to meet their needs.
After receiving and assessing a referral, the Program staff matches the client with a volunteer. Matches are based on the individual’s needs and the volunteer’s availability to provide the service. Screened and trained volunteers, depending on their individual availability, contribute 3 to 4 hours of time and activity to the elderly from all faiths, every week, or bi-weekly, based on the needs of the client. Community volunteers who are recruited, trained, and supervised by SEARCH staff provide all services, delivered at no cost and designed to enhance the quality of life for the seniors we serve. People who are 55 and over can join our RSVP (Retired & Senior Volunteer Program) Project in Kennebec & Somerset Counties. This project is to support seniors with companionship/social activities, transportation assistance and referrals. Our dedicated volunteers also come from all faiths, all age groups and all walks of life.
SEARCH is supported by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland; United Ways of Androscoggin County, Mid Coast Maine and Tri-Valley Area; Parish of the Holy Savior; Christ the King Parish; Bath Housing Authority; Davenport Trust Fund; Auburn-Lewiston Rotary Breakfast Club; Lewiston-Auburn Rotary Club and the Bath Rotary; Helen & George Ladd Charitable Foundation; Bessie D. Brooks Grant; Doree Taylor Charitable Foundation; St. Michael Pastoral Center; All Saints Parish; St. Rose of Lima Parish; Elizabeth Ann Leach Charitable Trust; Liberty Mutual; and donations from individuals, businesses and civic groups.