Volunteer help during COVID-19 is more crucial than ever before, and Agassiz-Harrison is no exception.
National Volunteer Week wraps up on Saturday, a perfect time to look back on everything local volunteers have accomplished. This includes our own Agassiz-Harrison Community Services Society.
From transportation to maintaining ACHS buildings to distributing food and more, the team of 95 regular AHCS volunteers remained busy serving the community, even during the pandemic; the volunteers donate 7,000 combined hours of their time every year.
AHCS volunteers are responsible for running a number of important programs for locals in need.
Though most Drive4U clients are seniors, this volunteer-driven program provides transportation to medical appointments and shopping for community members of all ages. While several transport programs shutting down across the Fraser Valley, ACHS’s Drive4U was able to persist thanks to volunteers in the Agassiz-Harrison area.
Through Drive4U, from April 1, 2020 to Feb. 28, 2021, volunteers have logged more than 20,000 kilometres over the course of 741 donated hours. Beginning in March of this year, ACHS volunteers have also begun transporting Drive4U clients to COVID-19 vaccination appointments.
Last September, seven ACHS volunteers gathered to advise on the formation of Seniors’ Resource Services. This branch f ACHS services offers a number of services to seniors, including computer access, grocery pickup and delivery and technical assistance.
The Agassiz Thrift Store shut down for three months in the early stages of the pandemic, reopening in June of 2020. Without the support of a team of 17 volunteers (43 volunteers before March 2020), the store simply would not have been able to run. One ACHS volunteer is attending an adult education program with ACHS, and their experience as a cashier at the Agassiz Thrift Store provides valuable job experience.
The Family Parenting Place has continued operation through the pandemic, serving more than 70 dinners per week through the It Takes a Village Program. The food bank operated with COVID-safe restrictions as well, feeding 1,500 individual community members from April 2020 to the end of Feb. 2021.
Especially important during the pandemic, Friendly Phone volunteers called isolated seniors at home twice a week.
An additional 40 volunteers helped provide a COVID-safe Children’s Christmas party over the course of several days.
Recognized for their ongoing efforts, ACHS received a congratulatory certificate from MP Brad Vis (Mission-Matsqui-Fraser Canyon).
A volunteer also provides a free tax clinic twice per week.
This year, ACHS honoured volunteers during National Volunteer Week.
“For the volunteers who have continued to work and go above and beyond during the last year, it’s important that an extra thank you is given,” reads a statement from ACHS. “The volunteers give so much every day and make a positive difference in people’s lives.”
A volunteer board of directors oversees ACHS operations. Volunteers are subject to an application process, code of conduct and a police information check.
To learn more on how to volunteer, visit AHCS online at www.agassiz-harrisoncs.ca or call 604-796-2585.