Volunteers give a helping hand when needed

When medical issues arise people are often unprepared for what help they may need and what kind of equipment they need to make things easier.

Volunteer Pat Boon

When medical issues arise people are often unprepared for what help they may need and what kind of equipment they need to make things easier.

For the past 41 years Sooke has had a volunteer organization that provides medical equipment and transportation to medical appointments. The Contact Community Assistance Society is a non-profit society operating a transportation and equipment rental service out of a small office and supply room at the Sooke Community Hall. Their cupboards carry all of the specialized pieces of equipment needed for caring for someone with medical needs. The Loan Cupboard’s shelves are bare and they want their equipment back.

“In our inventory are tub transfer benches which are used after surgery and we have none on our shelves,” said president Lynda Nex. “We had to institute a maximum six month rental.”

“If there is a long term need then people need to make other arrangements. We’re being pretty generous,” said Loan Cupboard coordinator Dianne Campbell. ”

The whole idea is to loan out the equipment for three months and then have people make more permanent arrangements for items they need.

The items are given out for a nominal fee to help people but they need to realize they are a volunteer organization, and like most volunteer organizations they have limited funds. They survive on donations from groups like the Legion and from individuals. They receive no government funding for either the equipment or the workers. The Sooke Community Association allows them to use the space in the basement of the hall at no charge.

She said people neglect to return the items after they are no longer needed. Sometimes people go to care homes and the loaned equipment is left for garbage disposal.

One wheelchair was found staked along a river with a fishing line attached.

Another function of the society is the transportation aspect. They have volunteer drivers who take residents living in the area from Kemp Lake Road to Connie Road to medical appointments in Sooke, Colwood, Langford and Victoria.

This is not a taxi service and the society requires 48 working hours of notice from an appointment day. The volunteers work from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday to Friday. They have a suggested nominal donation which reimburses the driver for their gas only.

If you like to drive and have a clean driving record, the society could use your help. This is not a full-time volunteer job but rather one suited to someone who may be newly retired with a good driving record and a safe car. Volunteers must be willing to go through a police record check.

If interested in driving and helping the community call 250-389-4661 and leave a message. Someone will get back to you.

For more information on the Loan Cupboard call 250-389-4607.