Shortage of volunteer drivers in Essex County

Robin Caudell, The Press-Republican, Plattsburgh, N.Y.
·2 min read

May 4—PLATTSBURGH — AmeriCorps Seniors RSVP Essex County and Essex County Office for the Aging are in desperate need of volunteer drivers to transport seniors to and from doctors appointments in the region.

"We do provide the service," Kyle Miller, volunteer coordinator of AmeriCorps Seniors RSVP, said.

"Office for the Aging of Essex County has rural transportation, and AmeriCorps Seniors provides the volunteers to be their drivers. Right now, the demand far outweighs what we are able to offer.

"We don't have very many volunteers. There are a couple of factors at work here. COVID is one of them. People have more of a need to see doctors now.

"Another one is that our entire population is just starting to age. We have more people entering an older age group. They are needing to see doctors more."

AmeriCorps has a small pool of volunteers, and some of them are reluctant to drive because of the coronavirus.

"But the main reason we are so desperate is the number of people asking for rides to medical appointments," he said.

Interested parties can contact Miller at 518-546-3565 or email: kmiller@cathcharities.org

"They would drive their own vehicles," he said.

"They would be covered by supplemental insurance by my organization, AmeriCorps Seniors. Then, they would receive a mileage reimbursement that is currently 56 cents a mile and that would come from OFA. So, I would recruit the volunteers to join my organization. Then, OFA would manage them. They would assign the clients."

Volunteer drivers can pick and choose when and where they want to transport clients according to their availability.

"If something sounds good, they go for it," he said.

"If they say, I'm not interested or I don't have time, they pass it up. They can be pretty much anywhere. We're such a huge county here that sometimes it's all the way up to Plattsburgh."

One former driver transported clients down to the Albany Stratton VA Medical Center.

"If the drivers are willing, there is a need to go wherever the medical service is needed," Miller said.

"Sometimes, it's just a very local drive from like Moriah to Elizabethtown to the hospital over there."

Email Robin Caudell:

rcaudell@pressrepublican.com

Twitter:@RobinCaudell