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Driving Change

Lack of transportation significantly affects access to health care and disproportionately affects those on the low end of the socioeconom…

Davies Project needs volunteer drivers, community support

Imagine having a sick child who needs to get to appointments one, two or more times a week — maybe even a few times a day.

Now imagine you don’t have reliable transportation. Sure, you can take a bus; however, that can take hours when you add up the logistics of waiting for a bus, the ride and getting into your appointment with a child, and in some cases medical gear, in tow. Picture trying to navigate that while keeping your job, taking care of other members of the household and juggling everything with other everyday stresses of life.

That’s where the Davies Project comes in, providing reliable transportation for seriously ill children and pregnant women to essential health care appointments as well as other services.

According to Dr. Pam Riley Miklavcic, executive director and founder of the Davies Project in Lansing, lack of transportation significantly affects access to health care and disproportionately affects those on the low end of the socioeconomic spectrum. About 70% of the children who use Lansing-area specialty clinics are on Medicaid and miss roughly 60% of their medical appointments.

At the onset of COVID-19, the Davies Project adjusted to ensure that transportation to essential appointments continued and instituted new health screening and safety procedures. But even with those adjustments came volunteer changes that need to be addressed with help from the community.

“With many volunteer drivers over 50 and at greater risk for severe illness from COVID-19, many of the project’s volunteer drivers paused their driving families and worked for other areas of the Davies Project,” said Miklavcic.

That included making coronavirus buddy calls, working to connect families in need with resources or delivering food in partnership with the Lansing School District.

Ride requests have picked up, and volunteer drivers are needed to give rides to essential appointments for children in fragile health and for pregnant women to prenatal appointments.

“Volunteers should be at least 21; have no immunity, heart or lung problems; and do not care for or live with someone who does,” said Miklavcic. “They should also be able to interact compassionately and empathically with all Davies Project families as well as being reliable to drive in all-weather conditions.”

Those interested in making a difference in their communities should visit thedaviesproject.org/become-a-volunteer-driver/ to inquire about volunteering.

The Davies Project has also seen a drop in financial support and is exploring ways to bolster its fundraising capacity. Community members who would like to offer financial support can visit thedaviesproject.org. With your help, the Davies Project can continue driving change.

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