CARPINTERIA, Calif. - Those who need a vital ride will still get assistance during the coronavirus crisis, even though HELP of Carpinteria has temporarily stopped service to the city.
A collaboration with Easy Lift of Santa Barbara is keeping the wheels turning.
HELP Executive Director Judy Goodbody says the volunteers,"Believe strongly that if we don't help our neighbors get to where they need to go, who will do that? We were concerned with this quarantine that our riders would be isolated, that they wouldn't be able to get groceries, that they wouldn't be able to get what they need, and our volunteers were so determined to keep doing that. "
The HELP volunteers, however, were in the at-risk group and had to step back.
HELP uses Easy Lift on weekends when it is not staffed, making the new connection easier.
Executive Director of Easy Lift Ernesto Paredes was ready for the partnership. Easy Lift already offers Carpinteria low-cost rides, like HELP, especially for those with wheelchairs and other mobility considerations.
Paredes says drivers are ready and, when HELP is back and running, the transition back to normal service will occur.
Goodbody says the two agencies work well together. "We've always referred them to Easy Lift, and Easy Lift has done everything they could to make their transportation a pleasure "
And it helps the front line workers who are not volunteers and need an income during these stressful times.
"The Easy Lift staff needs a job. They need to keep their jobs. Our volunteers needed to protect themselves, and it just made perfect sense to transition that over."
HELP recently received a new car after a Lions Club holiday fundraiser. It was just put into service, and the three-car fleet is parked until the crisis is over.
In August during "Kindness Month," HELP raised money with specially delivered gifts one resident sends to another using a HELP team.
HELP has been in operation for 32 years. It has 86 volunteers.