By Meg Dickens
MyRide TN Johnson County is a volunteer-based non-emergency medical transport (NEMT) program that provides low-cost transportation for seniors in the area. Now volunteers are stepping up to help the elderly during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. MyRide announced online on April 2 that volunteers will now shop and deliver groceries to their elderly riders. Officials notify seniors when they call in for service and officially started the service at the end of March.
“We’re encouraging them to stay at home and let us go out for them for their safety,” said MyRide Transportation Director Danae Marshall.
Currently, MyRide has 49 clients. MyRide TN Johnson County started near the end of 2018 and, according to Marshall, not a single volunteer has asked for mileage compensation. Now volunteers are taking extra precautions to take care of these 60+ clients, including wearing masks and sanitizing vehicles between uses. Drivers or clients exhibiting symptoms will not be involved in transport. Anyone with these symptoms in need of a ride should contact proper medical personnel.
“We’re trying to reach as many seniors as we can,” Marshall explained. “We have wonderful volunteers, but the list is growing, so we may need more help.”
There are a few complications involved with this new grocery service. Clients on Food Stamps or other similar aid may be unable or unwilling to share needed information. MyRide TN Johnson County is still in action during the COVID-19 pandemic even though the Johnson County Senior Center, its base, is closed until the end of April. MyRide is an essential service according to government guidelines. Marshall, along with others, works to send out meals while the center doors are closed. Workers deliver meals along with bingo cards for Facebook games to keep senior spirits up.
Contact 423-460-6012 if you are a senior or know a senior in need who would like to become a member of MyRide TN Johnson County.