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New leader at the wheel of Faith in Action charity

Winchester Star, October 2, 2017

https://www.winchesterstar.com/news/new-leader-at-the-wheel-of-faith-in-action/article_78d5a3e1-7016-5160-b961-716a7a78bb1b.html


WINCHESTER — Faith in Action, a local nonprofit group that drives people to medical appointments, has named Frederick County resident Traci C. Toth its new executive director.

Faith in Action volunteers provide free door-to-door transportation to area residents who have no means to get to and from medical appointments. The group serves the city of Winchester, Frederick and Clarke counties and parts of Shenandoah and Warren counties.

Toth, 42, has served on the Faith in Action board of directors since January 2010 and as its vice chairwoman the past three years. She has experience in social services, human resources and information technology.


Faith in Action board chairwoman Karen Shipp said the need for a new executive director arose after the organization’s previous director, Charly Franks, resigned on July 31 to work for Concern Hotline.

Toth was hired by the board in August, and she started work on Sept. 11. The part-time job pays $20 an hour.

As executive director, Toth is responsible for recruiting volunteers and letting the public know about the services Faith in Action provides.

“One of the things that has been a frustration for me is that ... if you say ‘Faith in Action’ people kind of give you a blank stare,” Toth said. “They don’t know us, and I want to make it more of a recognizable name. So that’s my biggest goal right now. That and to increase our volunteer driver database.”

Toth said there are only 33 drivers that volunteer on a regular basis. As the number of clients increases, the need for more volunteers grows.

“We have two drivers that drive an incredible amount of miles every year, and both of them have their own medical concerns going on right now,” Toth said. “So we are hurting for drivers.”

In 2016, Faith in Action had 40 drivers that transported 82 clients. Collectively, almost 60,000 miles were driven. The number of clients has increased by about 30 percent this year.


Faith in Action is not affiliated with any church, and there is no religious requirement to be a client or volunteer, Toth said. When the nonprofit group was started in 2004, it recruited most of its drivers and clients through churches, and that’s how the name was coined.

“We do still appeal to the churches, and some of them are faithful donors to us every month,” Toth said. “But it’s not necessarily a faith-based organization anymore.”

Toth worked for 13 years at Frederick County’s Department of Social Services as a social work case aide and eight years as an information technology/human resources specialist.

Toth moved to the Winchester area in 1995 from her hometown of Keyser, W.Va., and said she fell in love with the community. She is a member of Wesley United Methodist Church and lives in Fredrick County with her husband and 4-year-old daughter.

Shipp said Faith in Action is “blessed” to have Toth as its new director and believes that her experience as vice chairwoman will give her the advantage of knowing how the group operates.

“She has the skills, knowledge and dedication to effectively lead our organization,” Shipp said. “She’s been a hard worker and giving of her time and talents to support our mission of arranging transportation for individuals in our community who have no other means of getting to their medical appointments or treatment.”

One of Toth’s first responsibilities will be helping organize a Faith in Action fundraiser, which will be a Robbie Limon concert with dinner and wine at Valerie Hill Winery and Vineyard in Frederick County. The event is scheduled for 6 to 9 p.m. Oct. 20. Tickets for the event may be purchased online at valeriehillwinery.ticketleap.com/faith. The $35 ticket includes dinner, a glass of wine and entry to the concert.

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For more information, contact Toth at 540-536-1006 or faithinaction.nsvalley@gmail.com.

— Contact Josh Janney at jjanney@winchesterstar.com





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