As it’s been well established, COVID-19 has taken a toll. Front and center, the virus has shut down schools, furloughed workers, and closed businesses across the board. Driving through the streets, there’s a visible change.


But those are not the only effects. There are even more challenges behind the scenes that no one would be the wiser about.


Of the sectors that have not shut down due to state restrictions, one of the essential services is healthcare. That is not limited to hospitals, but groups such as Volunteer Community Services of Woodward & Granger (VCS), a non-profit organization specialized in providing free, dependable services to residents who cannot leave their homes.


Organizer and volunteer Linda Larson said at the moment, the group is helping roughly 30 Woodward-Granger area residents who are unable to go out of the home to get food and supplies.


“We need to let the community know we’re still operating which is a big thing here with so much shut down,” Larson said. “We’re letting people know that they can call us any time.”


That means calls requiring safe transportation, groceries, medical equipment, or even just a social call while a bulk of people are in isolation.


With the increase of services and businesses shuttered for the time being, Larson said it’s become even more imperative that VCS continues to provide its care not only because of the lack of retail resources available but also social strains.


“We haven’t really had many calls for transportation,” Larson told the Perry Chief. “We’re doing more connecting to people for social contact and discussion with them.”


She said that this moment has increased their rate of social calls to shut-ins, something the group is strongly considering to continue moving forward on a more “regular basis because right now there’s so much isolation. We’re trying to avoid some of the social isolation.”


This is not limited to just elderly, but anyone that is unable to provide their own care in-home. While transportation needs have declined, there remains an emphasis on getting groceries for clients as well as travel for essential medical treatments such as chemotherapy and dialysis.


VCS has consulted with the Nightingale Nurses, a travel medical agency, to understand the safest ways to transport at-risk patients.


Larson said that mostly includes keeping volunteer vehicles as clean as possible, wearing gloves and masks, and if the volunteer driver shows any symptoms or illness, one of the 16 other volunteers will replace them.


In addition to transport and social services, Larson wanted to remind that VCS is also able to provide medical equipment on loan ranging from crutches, knee scooters, and walkers to ease accessibility.


To sign up for services, clients must be a Woodward or Granger area resident. There is no screening for income, age, or disability. The group’s website suggests six days notice but Larson said requests can be quicker. Service requests can be called at 515-999-2970 to Gregg Erickson. Larson added that volunteers are always welcome as well, and donations are also encouraged.