COURTNEY McCLURE The Standard Intern
UXBRIDGE: “Helping Hand was started to help the people of Uxbridge who are self-isolating… who cannot leave their houses… and need people to help them,” said the organizer, James Drake. According to Drake, Helping Hand was created to let the people of Uxbridge know that they are not alone, especially during this time. They are working to help seniors and other vulnerable people during the COVID-19 pandemic. To get help from this group, clients can contact their Facebook page, email, or call the phone number. Some services Helping Hand offers are dog walking and picking up groceries for people unable to go to the store themselves. The group has about 80 volunteers, said Drake. “We’ve helped about twenty people throughout town,” he commented. “But we have helped them multiple times.” He also shared that Helping Hands has still been receiving calls “every couple of days” from people asking for help, or emails, for the same purpose. Many people have also been asking Drake and his volunteers how Helping Hand works. What do they do exactly? When a client asks for assistance, and describes the specific services they are looking for, Drake assigns one of his volunteers to help that person. This service is not strictly limited to residents living in Uxbridge. Helping Hand is willing to extend its services to people living in Port Perry, explained Drake. This group is still looking to spread the word about what they are doing to help seniors and people who are vulnerable, and may need extra assistance getting the things they need during this pandemic. “We are here to help,” said Drake. “We can do grocery pickups, dog walking… we can do, errands [in] town.” They are also offering to pickup medications from pharmacies, if that is a need of one of their clients. People looking for help are asked to include their needs within an email, or tell the person on the receiving end of the phone their needs. Creating the group, Helping Hand was all done thorough Facebook, said Drake. First, he created the page called ‘Uxbridge Helping Hand’ and invited some people to join. Then, he created some posts to further spread the word about the group. There is also a link available to people who are looking to volunteer. The link is on their Facebook page under the ‘About’ section. “We got a lot of shares and visibility because of Facebook,” said Drake. Helping Hand’s phone number is 1-833-435-7852. Their email address is email@example.com. These are also included on their Facebook page. Helping Hands officially organized over Facebook messenger, around March 15th.