Need for volunteer drivers rises as Tucson seniors return to regular routines | Local news
During the height of the pandemic in Pima County, seniors were often staying home to avoid the risk of exposure.
Now, as many have been vaccinated and concerns have eased, more seniors want to get out of the house for medical appointments or shopping.
That means the need for volunteer drivers has returned, and Interfaith Community Services is searching for help.
ICS is a nonprofit that’s not connected to a single faith community but is, according to ICS Volunteer Engagement Manager Tori Carlson, associated with 122 different faith community partners.
ICS has been operating for over 35 years and relies primarily on volunteers to provide its services, Carlson said. This summer, ICS has run particularly low on volunteer drivers.
“Typically, every summer we always struggle getting more drivers because so many of our people that volunteer are retirees,” Carlson said. Many retirees choose to live elsewhere in the country during the scorching summer months.
Carlson said it wasn’t as much of a problem during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic — seniors were staying in their homes more for their own safety — but more clients are getting back to their normal routines.
All volunteers will submit an online application, attend a Zoom orientation, participate in a background check and provide two personal references, according to Carlson. Once completing those steps, the new volunteer driver will receive training via Zoom on expectations for them and the computer system used to self-select rides.