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Four Ways to Volunteer During COVID-19

We’ve been fortunate to have community members who have stepped up and helped out social services agencies like ours since the start of the COVID-19.

Now, four months into the pandemic, the need for volunteers continues.

“Initially, we received inquiries as to how a person could help,” says Sheila Hewitt, our Volunteer Coordinator. “People had been laid off, and they were looking for ways to make a difference. Those calls are infrequent now. However, we still have consumers out there who we know need help.”

The need for new volunteers is urgent since many of our volunteers are over 65 and are opting to stay at home. Volunteering is beneficial to our well-being and makes a difference in the lives of some of our most vulnerable community members.

Here are four ways to volunteer:

    1. Meals on Wheels driver: There is always a need for drivers to deliver meals. We depend on drivers to provide meals to any older adult in our communities who need the services. Our drivers are essential for conducting safety checks in their efforts to deliver a meal without entering the home. Health and safety protocols are in place to ensure driver safety.
    2. Long-term care ombudsman: Ombudsmen act as the liaison person between an individual and a long-term care facility. In-person visits are restricted, which changes the role of the ombudsman volunteer. Ombudsmen make phone calls to the professionals in the home who can update the status of their residents. For existing clients, Ombudsmen call the resident directly to check on their wellbeing. Ombudsman volunteers are required to take state-mandated online training.
    3. Friendly visitor/shoppers/companions: Volunteers provide companionship and assistance to older adults who may be isolated by visiting in their homes or participating in activities. Volunteers can help by grocery shopping for an elder if needed.However, currently, volunteers are making phone checks only.
    4. Medical Advocate: These volunteers pick up an individual at their home, drive them to doctor appointments, and accompanies them into the office

How do I become a volunteer?
All volunteers are asked to make a six-month to a one-year commitment. This helps provide stability and familiarity for both the consumer and the volunteer.

Volunteers should have the ability and interest in working with older adults and follow all health and safety protocols. Our agency provides volunteers with personal protective equipment.

Volunteers will go through an interview process and must participate in any mandated training.

To get started, contact our volunteer department at 978-651-3128 or email volunteerprograms@esmv.org. Visit our website for more information and the application form:  www.esmv.org/get-involved/volunteer-program/

Unable to volunteer now? Consider making a financial gift to support our volunteer programs: www.esmv.org/give/

 

Our Information and Referral Services department is available to assist our consumers, all professionals, and our community partner agencies during this Coronavirus crisis. Our dedicated staff is working remotely but nothing changes in the ways they can help.

To reach our Information and Referral Services Department in Danvers please call 978-750-4540; email info@nselder.org or make a web referral via our website at nselder.org/contact-us/referral-form/.

To reach our Information and Referral Services Department in Lawrence please call 978-683-7747 or email info@esmv.org.