Volunteers help county’s most vulnerable

LOWVILLE — Two Lewis County agencies have partnered with union teachers at county schools to help people most at risk for COVID-19 get what they need in their own homes.

County residents over the age of 60 and those with chronic health issues including asthma, autoimmune diseases, diabetes, cancer and heart disease among others, can now request help with errands that would otherwise have them going outdoors and potentially risking their health.

Volunteer teachers and other school district employees throughout the county who are not currently working in their normal capacities are available to go grocery shopping, make pharmacy pick-ups and run other important errands and deliver the items directly to the person within three to five days of the request.

According to Office for the Aging Director Crystal Collette, because the union employees already have contracts, have been through background checks and are trusted members of both the school districts and the communities, this is the perfect merger of efforts to help the people that need it most in the current context.

“It’s really a win-win situation for our community,” Ms. Collette said, “Most of these people volunteering live in Lewis County and know the people in the area. Chances are they know or even have a connection to some of the people that will be calling to make requests.”

Another benefit of the program is to ensure people have an opportunity for socialization even while they are isolated, Ms. Collette said.

The idea was spearheaded by the Strong Schools Strong Community committee consisting of representatives of the county departments providing human services and school districts.

On Wednesday, the first day the opportunity was available, a number of requests already came to the office, Ms. Collette said.

People interested in using this service do not have to be signed up for Office for the Aging or Social Services programs.

Individuals and families unable to meet their own needs financially will be assisted by the two departments to find local resources.

For more information about the program or to request an errand, call 315-376-5400 and ask for the Volunteer Delivery Program between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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