TRURO, N.S. – As a volunteer driver for VON, Joyce Weber is often the first person patients spend time with after leaving their doctor’s office.
Many of them want to talk about their diagnosis and treatment, and Weber is happy to listen.
“I’ve laughed with people and I’ve cried with people,” she said. “They need a drive and some of them need to talk. I know I’m helping people, and I enjoy what I do.”
Weber has been a volunteer with VON for more than 25 years and is ready to give drives to people most weekdays.
Donna Verheuvel, coordinator of community support of volunteer services with the Colchester-East Hants VON, would love to have more volunteers like her.
“The demand for transportation to Halifax, for specialist appointments and tests, is increasing and we don’t have many drivers,” she said. “We need people around Truro, but we also need them in Tatamagouche, Kennetcook, Shubenacadie, Elmsdale… all areas of Colchester-East Hants.”
Volunteers are paid a set amount per kilometre, which is tax-free, and are refunded for any parking and bridge toll expenses. They also have a percentage of their meals paid while on the road.
Volunteers who only have a small amount of time to give might be interested in helping with the Frozen Favourites program.
“This is something new, and it offers high-quality frozen meals to clients,” said Verheuvel. “Delivering a frozen meal could take as little as 15 minutes of a person’s day.”
The meals are available for anyone who wants to buy them, at a cost of $6, and can be picked up at the Colchester-East Hants VON office. They are available for various diets, including low sodium, celiac, puree, vegetarian and diabetic.
Weber is hoping to see more drivers come forward.
“I can’t be everywhere and there are a lot of people who need help,” she said. “I don’t get a wage, but I get gratification, and that’s worth a lot.”