The current pandemic has tested the adaptability of community organizations in terms of their delivery of services, producing a variety of creative permutations and combinations.
Volunteer West Island and certain of its community partners in the non-profit sector have provided essential services throughout the pandemic, although sometimes having to limit access and reduce activities. The staff of the majority of these non-profit groups have been working from home, managing shifting realities, organizing possibilities and client support outreach services. Volunteers remain key players in the success of this type of endeavour.
These organizations have put into operation – in lieu of, or in addition to regular services – a variety of assistance programs. At Volunteer West Island these include such things as Zoom information sessions with Health & Social Services and community partners and regular reassurance calls to maintain connection with and assure the well-being of clients, in addition to setting up temporary emergency grocery provision options for clients and vulnerable residents. This has been possible thanks to the dedication of volunteers, all adhering to required social distancing policies and strict hygiene protocols.
Throughout the pandemic an incredible number of volunteers have come forward to assist in such crucial activities as shopping and delivery of groceries to those with no other means of obtaining food staples, according to Andrea DeRome, Volunteer Coordinator at Volunteer West Island (VWI).
Lately the province has begun to reopen. While many regular programs remain curtailed, some local groups are in the process of offering or expanding certain activities, many involving virtual and physical volunteer opportunities. Volunteer West Island Coordinators for the Individual, Youth, and Corporate Volunteer Recruitment programs continue to keep potential volunteers informed about such possibilities within community partner organizations.
As we face this new reality together, Volunteer West Island has been introducing creative ways to continue offering programs and services.
Here is an update:
Going strong – Frozen meals and puree deliveries, with a progressive re-opening of MOW’s kitchens; friendly calls to less-autonomous seniors; volunteer recruitment and matching for West Island groups; volunteer support and guidance (for all ages); new volunteer opportunities, including virtual ones; corporate volunteers on stand-by for NPO’s; outdoor physical activities and events. Please call (514) 457-5445 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org for more details.
Several VWI Outreach summer activities have recently resumed including Young at Heart outdoor summer classes for seniors with sessions of Essentrics on the front lawn, and Zumba Gold in the parking lot, all adhering to required social distancing policies and strict hygiene protocols. These are “weather-permitting” activities; none is held inside and no equipment is shared.
“It’s exciting that some life is coming back to the Centre. We “sold out” of registration spots in minutes so people are delighted to get back here which is amazing. The goal is to get together by staying apart”, Outreach Coordinator Shelley Hayden reported.