Project Dana is a faith in action program that provides a variety of services to the frail elderly and disabled to ensure their wellbeing, independence, and dignity in an environment of their choice. Volunteers drive the elderly to their appointments, help them with their shopping, or simply spend time visiting with them. Many members of St. Mark's help with this interfaith ministry, and new volunteers are always welcome if they are willing to complete the training.
Built around the universal principle of “Dana” which means selfless giving, Project Dana’s mission is to recruit, train, and mobilize volunteers to provide in-home assistance with compassion and care without the desire for recognition or expression of appreciation. It fills important social service gaps and serves as a referral and linkage agency and works closely with more than 130 community agencies to ensure a continuum of services to the elderly.
What does Dana mean?
Dāna is a Sanskrit and Pali term meaning “generosity” or “giving”. In Buddhism, it also refers to the practice of cultivating generosity. Ultimately, the practice culminates in one of the Perfections: the Perfection of Giving. This can be characterized by unattached and unconditional generosity, giving and letting go.
Project Dana’s choice of the lotus as its logo arises from the beautiful universal symbolism of the lotus itself. In ancient Egypt, among the Phoenicians and the early Persian dynasties, throughout Asia and India the lotus has for millennia been revered as the source of energy and the warmth that is compassion.
In the Buddhist tradition in particular, the lotus growing out of the mud to rise to the pure beauty of its flowering, symbolizes the spiritual journey of each of us. Like the lotus we, too, rise from the darkness of ignorance and self centeredness to the pure beauty, light and warmth of compassion selflessly extended to others.