FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: March 16, 2020
CONTACT: Jeremiah S. Papineau, Director of Communications and Foundation Director | 315-755-2918 | email@example.com
**** UPDATED **** This document was updated as of 3/19/20 to reflect that the majority of our dispatchers are working from home as our offices are closed to the public. Life-sustaining services are still being provided at this time.
(WATERTOWN, NY) – The Volunteer Transportation Center, Inc. (VTC) has announced it is taking precautionary measures in response to concerns over the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
Jeremiah S. Papineau, Director of Communications and Foundation Director for the VTC, stated all of the nonprofit organization’s offices are closed to the public until further notice, per Executive Director Sam Purington. The majority of dispatchers are working from home to reduce the number of employees in our offices as we attempt to do our part to slow community spread of COVID-19. Volunteer drivers have also been encouraged not to visit offices of the VTC but to contact the agency via phone and email.
“Our priority first and foremost is the health and safety of our volunteer drivers and the clients we serve,” said Mr. Purington. “Out of an abundance of caution, we are no longer taking appointments that are not considered life-sustaining. However, we are asking each client make the determination whether or not his or her appointment is, indeed, life-sustaining.”
Mr. Purington stated the VTC, for now, will continue to take contracted ride appointments for Child/Adult Protective Services.
“We have also been in contact with Public Health to secure masks for the clients our volunteer drivers are transporting in an effort to decrease the transmission of any pathogens during this time of heightened concern,” said Mr. Purington, who noted that request is pending.
In addition, all events for the foreseeable future being hosted by the VTC are postponed, including a fundraising bowling tournament at the Ogdensburg Bowl on Sunday, March 29.
“While events like this are crucial to raise the necessary dollars to support the services our volunteer drivers provide to our clients, we have to think about the health and safety of our community above all else,” said Mr. Papineau. “While there are no reported cases of anyone testing positive for COVID-19 in our communities, we have an obligation to do our part to slow the spread of the virus in anticipation of it making its way to our region.”
With the postponement of events, Mr. Papineau noted donations will be welcomed and greatly appreciated to support the services the VTC provides.
“It’s a difficult subject to address but the fact of the matter is, we’re unsure how long this pandemic will last and to what degree it will impact our services, including the events that make it possible for us to provide those services,” he said. “So, like any other organization providing assistance to those in our community, we are grateful for any support we receive.”
For more information regarding the VTC and its procedures to address the spread of the Coronavirus, all questions are to be directed to Mr. Papineau at 315-755-2918 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
ABOUT THE VOLUNTEER TRANSPORTATION CENTER
The Volunteer Transportation Center, Inc. (VTC), established in 1991, drives thousands of miles each year assisting community members in Jefferson, Lewis and St. Lawrence Counties. Over the last 20 years, this essential non-profit organization has provided rides to health care appointments, grocery shopping, and other destinations for residents.
In 2018, our volunteer drivers provided over 414,558 miles of transportation in Jefferson County alone, and over 777,123 miles across Northern New York. Data from 2019 is currently being compiled.
The staff, Board of Directors and volunteer drivers look forward to a time when transportation to community activities and services is accessible to all North Country residents regardless of economic or specialized needs. But for now the mission drives on — striving to provide transportation to health, wellness and critical needs destinations utilizing volunteers and mobility management for anyone who has barriers to transportation.
For more information about how you can help the Volunteer Transportation Center, about its upcoming events, or to become a volunteer driver, contact the agency at 315-788-0422. To learn more, visit www.VolunteerTransportationCenter.org.