Across the country and our communities, people are isolated because of social distancing, a COVID-19 health and safety practice to prevent contracting the virus. However, there is a downside — they’ve become emotionally and physically threatened by the lack of transport and inability to take care of their health needs.
The Northwest Valley Connect Mobility Program continues to go forward with a ride solution for many seniors, people experiencing disabilities, and veterans residing independently in West Valley communities who lack access to public transportation.
The year 2020 has been difficult. Condolences from Northwest Valley Connect staff and volunteers go out to all who have lost loved ones, friends, family members or to those otherwise affected by the pandemic.
In consideration, transport activity slowed during the last months. But a number of amazing volunteers continue ride transport for the most vulnerable individuals attending to dialysis and cancer treatments. Volunteers also assist with online food shopping and food bank pickup and delivery.
Greater dependency on van transport is the ride solution for social distancing. During August, the Federal Transportation Department 5310 funds provided NVC with a 2021 brand new 12 passenger van with air conditioning and music. We are looking forward to more community members requesting a ride to their destination as community services continue to reopen.
Our people are important to us and the sentiment is conveyed by additional volunteers who are making “well check” calls to minimize fears of isolation. Approximately 75 clients are contacted weekly by volunteers. They share Information that creates an awareness of available community resources along with health and safety best practices to promotes ride participation during the pandemic.
Callers have voiced their concern, and NVC responded by increasing the level of health standards for equipment and volunteer personal vehicles. Quality sanitation products are used to clean each vehicle after a trip. Gloves are worn when volunteers are physically assisting a client and all drivers and riders wear a mask provided by NVC.
Our thanks to two of our clients who were so thoughtful and kind as to donate the funding for the wrap on our newest bus. Louis and Teresa are the sweetest of folks. They live in Surprise and were regulars at the Surprise Senior Center where Teresa worked for a while.
The center is closed and now Northwest Valley Connect helps with transporting Louis to medical appointments. Our most heartfelt appreciation to Louis and Teresa!
Please call 623-282-9300 if you need help with transportation, are interested in volunteering, or would like a deduction in your taxes and would like to donate to NVC.
Kathy Chandler is executive director of Northwest Valley Connect. Visit northwestvalleyconnect.org.