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Volunteer drivers needed to help get sick children to doctors

Published: Jul. 23, 2020 at 4:27 PM EDT
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LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - A local organization is looking for volunteers after the coronavirus pandemic forced a number to stay home because of safety concerns.

The Davies Project is a non-profit organization that provides volunteer drivers to give rides to medical appointments for children with a serious health conditions, pregnant women and for parents with a baby in the neonatal intensive care unit if no car is available.

Linda Soliz and her granddaughter, Mary Jean, are two who used the service.

Mary Jean was diagnosed with leukemia in 2017. She’s now in remission, but Soliz remembers the struggle of getting to her many appointments.

“I had a vehicle that wasn’t too reliable, so I was a little afraid in the beginning, but The Davies Project took all that pressure off me so I didn’t have to worry about it anymore,” Soliz said.

The Davies Project's volunteer driver pool has gone from 75 to less than 30.

“It’s very understandable because a whole lot of those drivers are mostly elderly and are very concerned about their health and how COVID-19 affects them,” volunteer coordinator Teyai Pam said.

As doctors start accepting more patients, The Davies Project needs more volunteers so that they can continue to be there for families like Mary Jane's.

“We haven’t had to turn anybody away yet, but it’s getting tight,” Executive Director Pam Riley Miklavcic said.

Riley Miklavcic expects the demand for their drivers to continue to rise and is asking for volunteers to help.

“Our tagline is ‘more than just a ride’ because this isn’t a taxi service, this isn’t just driving somebody to an appointment nobody says anything,” Riley Miklavcic said. “This is relationship building.”

Volunteers are screened and have to undergo virtual training.

The Davies Project provided 1,623 rides in 2019.

To find out more information about the organization and how to volunteer, visit https://thedaviesproject.org.

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