CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. -- As Virginia reopens, more people are trying to get back into their normal routines.
However, some seniors who rely on rides from other people to help them run their errands are finding themselves in a tough spot due to a shortage of drivers at a local non-profit.
Volunteers at the Shepherd's Center provide free transportation services to help seniors get around town to allow them to get to their appointments.
"They take me to the appointment, They go inside with me and wait for me to get done. Then they take me home. They are so good, they're always on time," Fannie Phillips, a client of the non-profit, said.
The non-profit's executive director Susan McCammon said that the pandemic tremendously hindered their ability to keep their volunteer roster full.
"We have over 683 clients and they're scheduling their doctor's appointments now because you know, they have their vaccine, they feel comfortable going out," McCammon said.
She said that before the pandemic, the center had 93 volunteer drivers. That number has now fallen down to 40 and the need to get more volunteers is urgent.
"Most of our seniors are living at home and they don't drive. Unfortunately, a lot of our senior clients outlive their children and they still need to go to their critical appointments," McCammon said.
To Miss Fannie and other clients, the center offers more than just a ride. Volunteer drivers form friendships with the senior citizens, something that's needed and welcomed as many try to put the pandemic behind them.
"It's been so devastating for them and if they can get out, even if it's to the grocery store, it's so important for them to spend time with somebody. Even if it's in a vehicle for like 15 minutes or an hour," McCammon said.
The Shepherd's Center is also in need of instructors to lead educational programs offered to seniors.
To register for volunteer opportunities, call 804-706-9198.