For individuals looking to help others during the COVID-19 pandemic, Delaware County Board of Developmental Disabilities could use some helping hands.
The DCBDD posted on its Facebook page March 14 that it’s looking for volunteers to help out with a variety of tasks, including picking up medications; picking up or taking people to the grocery; providing company to someone who cannot be left alone; providing hands-on care; donating food and supplies to food banks; and providing childcare.
Interested individuals can contact the board at email@example.com.
Superintendent Kristine Hodge said Friday the board is being proactive in asking for volunteers, because they are anticipating needing help as the coronavirus pandemic worsens.
“So right now, we’re pretty stable because the impact of everything shutting down hasn’t really hit,” Hodge said. “But what’s basically going to happen is what we have a good number of people who live in homes with people with disabilities, and they have provider staff, who we call direct support professionals, taking care of them 24 hours a day. With that, we can’t bring people out into the community because a lot of our folks are very compromised. We anticipate needing simple things like picking up medication and groceries. We believe that’s going to be a great need.”
Hodge added the DCBDD’s Facebook post has been shared many times, which has led to a lot of individuals signing up to help, but the board wants to get as many people as possible lined up, just in case.
“If the virus spreads as it’s predicted to, it’s going to hit the staff providing the care and then the people we serve,” Hodge said. “As we move along in this situation, having people help us is so important. We are fortunate to be in a passionate community, and so many people are doing such amazing things in Delaware County, helping each other. We have people who aren’t able to get out of bed and rely on a provider for every bit of personal care you can imagine, and when their current supply runs out or their medications need picked up, that’s when we’re going to see that need.”
Anne Flanery, the board’s PR & community education manager, said employees at DCBDD have already gone above and beyond to take on extra duties, but the community’s help will be needed in the coming days.
“Employees really stepped up and that’s been amazing, but we know it’s not going to be enough,” Flanery said. “We are so fortunate to be in this caring and compassionate community in Delaware. People are stepping up left and right. If we can get our act together and be proactive, then when the time comes, we’ll have a group of people to deploy to provide support.”
Hodge said the people who volunteer only need to be “a person willing to help,” and she added there’s a job out there for anyone willing to help.
“We have a passionate community, so I know there’s a lot of those helpers out there,” Hodge said. “Everybody has their own unique skill, talent and desire …We know we’re going to have all different types of needs. I think the needs are varied, and the ability for people to help is just as varied. People can decide for themselves what works best if they have the time and ability to help out. We’re really trying to be proactive, and we really appreciate the community response and support.”
Flanery said firstname.lastname@example.org is the best way to contact the board about volunteering.
Glenn Battishill can be reached at 740-413-0903 or on Twitter @BattishillDG.