Few organizations are having an easy time during the pandemic and subsequent economic recession.
Many local nonprofits especially have reported struggling over the past few months, and have had to navigate different terrain now that physical distancing has become a daily practice.
One Source — Empowering Caregivers is no exception to that rule, as its volunteers can no longer enter the homes of care-recipients with as much ease to offer a needed break to caregivers.
Now, instead of entering homes or even going on walks with care-recipients, volunteers for One Source are mostly making calls to families and running errands for them to ease daily burdens on caregivers.
“It’s been very difficult because we haven’t been doing much hands-on visits” said Katherine Doolittle.
Discovering One Source a few years prior and coming on and off the nonprofit’s board in 2016 and 2019, Doolittle is now the new volunteer coordinator, replacing Rev. Melissa Horton.
Doolittle said One Source is “brilliant and so needing” because of the devastation that 24/7 caregiving can wreak upon caregivers, particularly those who can’t afford extra help for their loved one.
About 17% of caregivers feel their health deteriorating because of strenuous caregiving responsibilities, according to a report from the Family Caregiver Alliance.
Doolittle said the pain hit close to home when her mother was needing a lot of care. It was during that time that her brother, who was providing most of the caregiving support, began to suffer.
“At one point his back had gone out from lifting her,” she said. “He laid on the floor for three weeks.”
In her new part-time position, Doolittle is working to simplify the process for volunteers to be on-boarded and making the paperwork a bit slimmer. She said she’s already trimmed future volunteer training days from three to one.
Doolittle and the organization hope to hold the next volunteer training on Sept. 12, be it virtually or in-person. That volunteer work, said Doolittle, is much needed, as there are currently about 20 families in need of volunteers to provide breaks for caregivers.
The new volunteer coordinator is grateful both for past and present volunteers and for those who came before her in the organization.
“Harriet Totten was such a warm and inviting person, it’s hard to beat her in the love category,” she said of one past volunteer coordinator, “but I think love and joy and gratitude are the most important values that a volunteer coordinator can provide.”
To contact Staff Writer Sam Corey, email email@example.com or call 530-477-4219.