Volunteer Airdrie is putting the call out for adults who are willing to drive residents in need of a ride to medical and other appointments in Calgary.
Since the first COVID-19 lockdown in mid-March, there has been an increased demand for the service in part due to the fact that other driving programs such as the Wheels of Hope (Cancer Society) program were suspended.
“My impression is that many medical appointments are getting scheduled on very short notice (24 to 48 hours) and other driving programs and transit are not suitable or available that quickly,” says David Maffitt, chair of the board of directors for Volunteer Airdrie.
Volunteer Airdrie receives the referrals of residents needing a ride from Community Links and Maffitt says they have helped about 10 clients so far including patients who need frequent rides due to chemotherapy or other regular medical treatments.
Volunteers must be adults, have a Class 5 license, a clear driver’s abstract and criminal background and vulnerable sector check and a reliable vehicle with a flexible schedule.
“Volunteers sign up for trips when they have time available. Most trips are into Calgary and take two to four hours roundtrip including waiting time,” says Maffittt.
“We have strict COVID-19 protocols in place to protect the driver and the client. The client sits in back seat and masks are worn at all times by both parties. Most clients do not require assistance getting in and out of the car. They simply need a ride and can be dropped off and picked up at the main entrance, without any additional risk of transmission.”
He adds that they are currently looking for at least 10 to 20 reliable drivers that are available on short notice on a consistent basis.
Some are local trips to Airdrie doctors, dentists, banks and grocery stores but the bulk of the appointments are to medical facilities in Calgary, including Tom Baker Cancer Centre/Foothills Hospital, Rockyview General Hospital, Peter Lougheed Centre, Richmond Diagnostic Centre, Mitchell Eye Centre and other eye and foot specialists located in Marlborough and Chinook Centre areas.
If you are interested in volunteering for the drivers’ program, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call/text 403-993-5034.