Village Volunteers find new ways to bridge the distance

  • Date: 05/05/2020

What happens when a volunteer organization whose very lifeblood is personal contact faces a rampant illness spread through personal contact? In the case of Village Volunteers, a lot. “Inaction is not an option,” said Executive Director Jackie Sullivan. “Our members need us now more than ever.” Home visits had to be curtailed, but by reallocating volunteer efforts, the Village radically increased the number and frequency of phone contacts with members. Before the state of emergency took effect, volunteers averaged 32 friendly check-ins by phone to members each month, because most contacts took place in person. Since then, the average has increased to 369 a month. When phone contact and email won’t suffice, volunteers send cards and letters.

Over the same period, medical transportation has remained in place in order to get members to crucial doctor visits, chemotherapy sessions, tests and rehabilitation appointments. But instead of driving members for other important errands, volunteers have taken over those tasks – picking up prescriptions and groceries, for instance. Errands run by volunteers have increased nearly 100 percent.

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