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Volunteer transportation program gives McHenry County seniors “Gift of a Lift”

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A program dubbed “Gift of a Lift” by the Senior Care Volunteer Network (SCVN) care receivers, has long been providing seniors in McHenry County rides to essential healthcare appointments, stores, hair appointments, social activities, and more.

Prior to the shelter in place order, volunteers drove hundreds of seniors averaging 10,000 miles per month all over the county, connecting them to more than 1,000 different destinations.

But when the stay-at-home order due to the pandemic was first enacted, SCVN, like so many other essential non-profit social services, had to step back and reevaluate the way services are delivered. It also prompted the immediate need for program and service modifications.

Many ride requests tapered off due to the shutdown of non-essential businesses and doctors moving to telemedicine-based appointments. But the SCVN team remained focused on trip requests to life-critical destinations such as dialysis, chemotherapy, infusions, and post-operative appointments.

“We continue to follow state and local guidelines to determine when we can reintroduce all our other types of services, but we realize it may be a while longer before we can resume at full program capacity,” said Sarah Schrempf, SCVN Executive Director.

Over the past two months, SCVN has received 516 life-critical ride requests by seniors. Drivers who were unable to give these rides continued to help fill other senior needs, such as providing 182 store-to-door grocery and prescription deliveries and making 464 friendly phone call check-ins. “We are encouraging volunteers to help seniors with yard work projects and outdoor activities that can be done and still follow social distancing protocol,” Schrempf said. SCVN is also seeking assistance from McHenry County residents.

“We ask the community to look in on your senior neighbors and drop them a note or ask if they need help with anything,” Schrempf said. “If they need help beyond what you can do, refer them to our network and we can do our best to connect them to a service or program that can.”

As of May 29 th , life- essential rides have been added back into the services offered by SCVN and there are plans to open up to all ride requests in June.

For more information about the transportation program, visit https://scvnmchenrycounty.org/transportation-services/

Senior Care Volunteer Network : 42 East Street Suite C : Crystal Lake, IL 60014 : 815.455.3120 : https://www.scvnmchenrycounty.org/

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