A guest blog post by M. L. Doyle. 

Linda (69) likes to drive. When she was thinking about volunteering some of her post-retirement time three years ago, she received a long list of non-profits looking for help in the Twin Cities. She found an organization that could make use of something she enjoys doing anyway.

“I reached out to them and started the interview process,” Linda said.

After a short background check, she began her volunteer service of driving for Help At Your Door, a nonprofit that, according to their mission statement, “helps seniors and individuals with disabilities maintain their independence and continue living in their homes.” 

“Almost all of my riders are elderly,” she said. “Part of what I really like about it is that I have several riders that I really enjoy.”

Two or three times a week, Linda will pick up a rider and take them to an appointment. She said Help At Your Door makes providing the services easy for the volunteers.

“They have a really good software program for managing all the rides. Once or twice a week, I go in and look at the upcoming rides and pick the ones that I want to do. I put all the details of the rides in my calendar, and that includes all the address information and phone numbers.”

Linda says the schedulers do a great job of making it clear what to do when she arrives at a pickup. The instructions outline whether she should call the client or go to the door, whether the person needs help getting to the car, will be traveling with a wheelchair, how long the appointment will be, and all kinds of other details.

“The office staff is excellent at filling all of that out,” she said. “They are careful about the details, so I’ve never had an address be wrong or anything. That makes it really nice.”

Clients of the service are charged a fee based on their ability to pay, but Linda says the volunteers don’t have to concern themselves with the money side of things.

“I often ask riders if they like the service because I’m just kind of curious,” Linda said. “They always say they really like the personal service. I’ve never had anybody complain about the charge at all.”

Transportation is just one type of service Help At Your Door provides. They also assist with a variety of home support including basic chores, cleaning, minor repairs, painting, help with hanging décor or basic installations. Grocery help includes taking orders over the phone, placing the orders for in-home delivery as well as unpacking items and putting them away. Grocery assistance might include taking a client to the store and simply offering companionship while the shopping is getting done.

Many of the Help At Your Door clients are repeat customers who make use of multiple services. Linda says she likes the opportunity to get to know her riders and develop relationships.

Linda says most of her clients need rides to medical appointments of some kind. “Dental, orthopedic, eye appointments, things like that,” she said.

Linda moved into a building at Glen Atrium seven years ago. Two years later, she retired from a career as a consultant in corporate information technology. Her career meant that she spent a great deal of her life traveling.

“I would get on a plane on Monday and come back on Thursday night,” she said. “I like to travel, and I never minded traveling every week. The jobs were stressful for other reasons, but travel wasn’t the problem.”

A few years into her retirement, Linda was diagnosed with brain cancer. “A good year and a half was spent managing all of that treatment,” she said. After surgery, chemo, and radiation, she is cancer free. “I’m good now! Those symptoms are gone, thank heavens.”

When asked why, after three years, she continues to volunteer as a driver, she doesn’t hesitate. “I really enjoy the people,” she said. “I feel like I’m giving something back. After being a life-long worker, it’s nice to do something for others.”

She goes on to say that if she quit, she just might miss some of the folks she volunteers for.

“I have such great riders. I have so much admiration for them,” Linda said. “A lot of them are struggling with multiple medical issues, and a lot of their lives are spent going to doctors and other medical professionals. But they really don’t complain about it.”

Linda says she’ll keep driving for Help At Your Door. “The system keeps track of how many rides you’ve given, and I just passed the 300-ride mark,” she said. “That’s a lot of rides!”

The need is great, and Help At Your Door is always looking for more volunteers. If you’re interested in volunteering for an organization that has good administration and provides essential and useful services, or if you are in need of help at home and would like to sign up for rides or other assistance, go to helpatyourdoor.org.

This story was originally published in the July 2023 Glen Atrium newsletter.   

Skip to content