The Retired Senior Volunteer Program of Berkshire County (RSVP) is seeking volunteer drivers for a new collaborative initiative, the Wheels for Wellness Program. Wheels for Wellness is a free ride service for Berkshire County residents of all ages who need transportation to vaccines sites and medical appointments.

The program is a partnership between RSVP and the following organizations: Berkshire Community Action Council, Berkshire Fallon Health Collaborative, Community Health Programs, Berkshire Interfaith Organizing, Berkshire Health Systems, and Blue Cross Blue Shield.

“We recognize that there is a considerable gap in available transportation, not just for seniors, but for many other members of our community and throughout the Berkshires,” said RSVP Director Jeff Roucoulet. “As more people become eligible for vaccinations, we want to ensure that Wheels for Wellness provides transportation services to those who need this and other critical resources.”

Volunteers must meet the following criteria (mileage reimbursement is available):

 Be between 55 and 79 years of age;

 Have a reliable vehicle, valid driver’s license, and safe driving record;

 Provide proof of insurance;

 Be available for shifts (of your choice) or on-call;

 Attend a 90-minute orientation session; RSVP

 Must be at least two weeks beyond full immunization (one or two shots); and

 Comply with mask and safety protocols; drivers and riders must be separated in the vehicle.

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Here’s how the program will work:

Appointments for rides can be made by calling 413-395-0109 between the hours of 8:30 a.m. - 4 p.m. Monday-Friday. Appointments must be scheduled at least 48 hours in advance.

Rides will be scheduled between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Passengers will be picked up in front of their residence. Please note, riders using this service must be able to get into the back seat of the vehicle without assistance. For safety purposes, each driver’s car windshield will display a specialized Wheels for Wellness placard for identification.

ABOUT RSVP

RSVP is a national organization funded in part by AmeriCorps Seniors. It is sponsored locally by the City of Pittsfield. RSVP provides recruitment, training, and placement of persons 55 years of age and older as volunteers. RSVP by the numbers:

 279 – number of local RSVP volunteers in 2019.

 33,168 – total volunteer hours.

 50 – number of states in which RSVP is represented.

 5,000 – number of host stations served by RSVP agencies.

 400,000 – number of RSVP volunteers nationwide.

To learn more about RSVP or to become a volunteer, please call 413-499-9345.

LOOK: Answers to 30 common COVID-19 vaccine questions

While much is still unknown about the coronavirus and the future, what is known is that the currently available vaccines have gone through all three trial phases and are safe and effective. It will be necessary for as many Americans as possible to be vaccinated in order to finally return to some level of pre-pandemic normalcy, and hopefully these 30 answers provided here will help readers get vaccinated as soon they are able.