Laureen Matheson is a volunteer with the Saanich Volunteer Services Society

Drivers wanted to help fellow Saanichites

Saanich Volunteer Services has been in community for nearly 20 years

Three days per week, Laureen Matheson is ready to hop in her Honda CRV and head out to medical appointments, to grocery shop, or to complete any number of errands around town.

The routes may change, but the purpose of each trip remains the same as Matheson, a Saanich Volunteer Services Society volunteer driver, takes those without a licence where they need to go.

“You meet some very interesting people,” Matheson said. “Most people have lived some very interesting lives and you hear some great stories. … Most are elderly and they’re so happy and so grateful to have someone do something for them.”

After retiring from the provincial government five years ago and planning to devote time as a volunteer, Matheson knew she had found the right fit as a driver.

“One of my first trips was with an elderly couple that used to live in Oliver and that’s a place where I go to every summer, so I was able to keep up with them and tell them about changes in the town and I reported back,” she said.

“That was quite fun.”

Matheson is one of 60 drivers providing service to more than 1,000 clients of the society, which was formed in 1992.

Drivers, always in high demand at Saanich Volunteer Services, are reimbursed for gas and require little more than a valid driver’s licence and a criminal record check to volunteer.

Gardeners and visitors are also at the top of the society’s wish list, but roles are always available for handymen and skilled people of all kinds, confirmed co-ordinator of volunteers, Heather Fetherston.

Common feedback Matheson receives is that her clients were at one point volunteers themselves and they’re heartened by the fact they are now on the receiving end of such generosity.

“You have to want to do it,” Matheson said. “Some of these people just want to have someone to talk with. That’s a big part of it: the camaraderie and the friendship.”

For more information on Saanich Volunteer Services and how to get involved, visit www.saanichvolunteers.org.

nnorth@saanichnews.com

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