Essential volunteer programs in the wake of COVID-19


(4/8/2020)

by ALEXANDRA RETTER

 

Volunteers are stepping up and helping others throughout the community during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Friendship Center staff are calling center members to check in on them and make sure they have access to necessities such as groceries and medicines. Friendship Center Director Malia Fox said volunteers who have previously donated their time to the center as well as center staff are assisting members. 

Fox said the majority of members have family who have been helping them. Some have neighbors who are assisting them, she stated, and they will contact the center if they need additional help. A few have needed assistance with getting groceries, for example. 

Members have not needed help with getting to medical appointments as most have been cancelled, Fox noted. She added that members might need assistance with having medicines delivered to them in the future. 

Fox shared that the center is in “a reactionary period here, but there’s always needs going forward” for volunteers. Those interested in volunteering in the future may call 507-454-5212 and ask to speak with someone from the Senior Advocacy Program to receive the required forms for volunteering. 

Winona Volunteer Services (WVS) continues to operate its home-delivered meals program and serve community members through its food shelf. Volunteer Coordinator Bev Speltz said she is encouraged by the volunteers who are delivering meals and keeping the food shelf running in the midst of the pandemic. “They continue to serve our clients, and it’s just inspirational, and they inspire me to be a better version of me,” Speltz noted. 

She said she is grateful for the community members who have contacted WVS to ask how they can help the organization serve its clients. “I can’t stress enough how fortunate I feel to be able to say back to all of those people, to our community, thank you, thank you, for reaching out … and not knowing where we’re headed because we’re in such a state of uncertainty, to feel free to continue to reach out,” Speltz shared. 

Those interested in helping WVS may call 507-452-5591 or email Speltz at bev1@winonavs.org. 

Information about ways to help Winona Health, including donating supplies from hand sanitizer to safety glasses and goggles, donating financially and donating blood, may be found at https://www.winonahealth.org/2020/04/02/with-gratitude-for-an-abundance-of-generosity/. 

Winona Health wishes for its volunteers to stay home and only go out for essential needs or to receive health care, Winona Health Chief Administration Officer Rebecca Lamberty shared. 

New volunteers are not being sought at this time for the telecare program, Winona Health Volunteer Services Manager Kris Walters shared. Through this program, Winona Health volunteers make daily check-in phone calls to telecare clients. The volunteers are now making calls from home, and new clients are being accepted. Those interested in finding out more about the program or signing up for the service may call 507-457-4342.

Through Neighbors Helping Neighbors, a Facebook page, community members may volunteer to assist others and make requests for help. Those interested in volunteering may use the Facebook page, email winonaneighbors@gmail.com, call 507-312-9133 or use the volunteer form at http://bit.ly/winonaneighbors. 

 

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