The initiative, called Miles of Smiles, began in mid-February to meet the needs of Santa Barbara County adults ages 62 and older who lack reliable transportation for necessary commitments like sightseeing. at the doctor.
“Dependent elderly people confined to their homes have always faced challenges maintaining their daily lives,” said Community Partners in Caring Executive Director Vilma Contreras. “We are calling on the community to step in and help these elderly people access basic needs. We want nothing to stop a senior in need from going to their doctor’s appointment or to the grocery store so they can grab a hot meal for dinner.
The program is primarily focused on needs in the region of Orcutt and Santa Maria, where there are 122 clients, and Lompoc, where there are 68 clients. There will also be services throughout South County as needed.
According to Community Partners in Caring spokeswoman Kaley Wise, they need about 10 volunteers each in the north, central and south regions of the county, or about 30 in total.
Volunteers who get involved can choose their shifts according to their availability and help in many different areas, whether it’s Miles of Smiles, food delivery, driving the elderly to the groceries or check-in calls with housebound adults, Wise said.
“It’s the luxury of being a volunteer with us, it’s being able to choose your own hours. Even if you help us with one trip per week or per month, you are still going to help someone’s life enormously” , Wise said.
Volunteers will be reimbursed for mileage and will go through an onboarding and orientation process that includes COVID-19 safety and sanitation instructions.
Eligible adults interested in scheduling a trip to a medical appointment with Community Partners in Caring should call the organization at 805-925-8000 at least two days in advance.