The demand for volunteer drivers to take individuals to medical appointments is at an all-time high in Keremeos.
Volunteer drives are organized by the Lower Similkameen Community Services Society and funded by the Interior Health Authority.
When a senior is in need of a driver, he or she phones Lisa Flex, the coordinator of volunteers, with the appointment details. Lisa then takes a look at her volunteer list and starts to contact her volunteer drivers to see who is available.
Drivers come right to the client’s door to drive them to their medical appointment or to do local shopping or banking and then safely bring them back to their home.
Clients make a small donation to the driver to cover gas costs. Longer trips such as Kelowna or Penticton are subsidized by Interior Health so that specialist appointments are accessible for clients with all budgets.
Despite requests for volunteer drivers rising, driver numbers have been slightly decreasing over recent years, most noticeably in winter months. In September 2017 only 10 volunteer drivers were available to cover 42 trips. Although the number of trips needed has doubled over the last three years, the number of drivers has not.
The Lower Similkameen Community Services Society would like to thank the following Volunteer Drivers for their great work, their time commitment, their flexibility and their patience with our clients.
Joanne Eaton, Pat Kupiak, Kit Hopkinson, George Spencer, Roger Clinton, Ernie Gaudet, Pat & Doug Coulter, Marcel Jean, Al Molander, Andrea & André Brind’Amour and Marilyn Harris.
The first four of the above named drivers alone logged a total of 2,300 km in September of this year, which comprises 70 per cent of all the drives that month. Even though our busiest drivers enjoy spending time with the clients and making a difference in people’s lives, we feel the load of rising drive requests needs to be spread more evenly.
Call us at 250-499-2352 or come see us in our office on 310 Veterans Ave in Keremeos if you have a few hours to spare. How often you decide to volunteer is absolutely up to you. It could be once a week, once a month or only in the winter months. Find out how volunteering can enrich your life.