Getting the word out key for volunteer effort

Scott Taylor
staylor@coloradocommunitymedia.com
Posted 3/23/20

Martha Heinz has managed to put together a platoon of do-gooders ready to help people quarantined by COVID-19. The thing is, nobody’s asking for help. “We have this army of people and they’re …

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Getting the word out key for volunteer effort

Posted

Martha Heinz has managed to put together a platoon of do-gooders ready to help people quarantined by COVID-19.

The thing is, nobody’s asking for help.

“We have this army of people and they’re ready to go,” Heinz said. “We have everything in place, we have a process in place and we are gathering donations and putting the resources for people that need them But we have not received any calls yet. I’m hoping that’s a good thing.”

Those homebound by the COVID-19 self-quarantine, especially seniors and those considered especially vulnerable to the disease, can call Heinz at 303 658-2089 to get essentials like medicine and groceries delivered. They can email her, too, at mmheinz@cityofwestminster.us.

“I put it out to public on Monday and got a pretty good response, from volunteers,” Heinz said.

Heinz, the volunteer and community outreach analyst for Westminster’s Human Resources Department, put out the call March 17 for volunteers via social media, especially the city’s Facebook page and the NextDoor.

In response, 20 people got in touch and volunteered.

“The original plan was to do this for a week or so, or day by day,” Heinz said. “As we’ve gotten further into it and more things close, we are extending it.”

Heinz said she’s also gotten support from the city’s Fire Department and the Westminster Legacy Foundation.

“And people are making donations of goods and money to help out,” she said.

Heinz said her volunteers are getting used to the local grocery stores’ hours and rules. Some have established special early morning hours for senior citizens, and her volunteers are learning those schedules.

“We’re having to be a bit strategic about it,” she said. “We have to know when the deliveries are happening and when the stores are opening and when we can be first.”

She continues to look for volunteers, too.

“I know I need to check with the volunteers,” she said. “They have lives, too. They have families, they have jobs or are working remotely. So there are a few things we need to work out. I’m hoping we can extend it a little further.”

But the next step is getting the word out. Heinze said she has co-workers helping to spreads the word through churches and social groups.

“We’ve made posts to NextDoor and Facebook and we have people out spreading the word — even when they just go out walking,” she said. “But it’s tough because we don’t know how to spread the word quickly. We really don’t have time to create mailer and send it out.”

She hopes that people will help, either volunteering to pick up and deliver or spread the word about the service.

“We have a great community closeness that started with all of this and it’s just building,” Heinz said. “I’m hoping people are getting help somewhere and they don’t really need this. I’m hoping that’s the reason they’ve not calling, not because we are struggling to get the word out.”

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