Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Alfred State nurses aid communities through volunteer work

In addition to their daily work-from-home assignments of auditing charts, doing inventory, assisting with health forms and immunization compliance, as well as updating medical directives for the Health and Wellness Department, Lynda Merring and Teri Toth-Fleischman, who are both full-time registered nurses, can be found giving back to their communities.
When the directive came to work from home, the ASC nurses were given the opportunity to take on volunteer work to round out their work day. Once that information was relayed, they wasted no time contacting local organizations to offer their time.
In addition to her normal job duties and volunteer work with Steuben County Faith in Action, Alfred State Nurse Lynda Merring can be found making face masks for her co-workers, family, and friends.
Merring connected with Steuben County Faith in Action’s Interfaith Volunteer Caregiver Program under the direction of Executive Director Dick Russell. Her contact, Angela Jenkins, calls her to coordinate weekly shopping trips for groceries and prescriptions as needed for individuals unable to safely venture out.  These individuals, Merring said, are primarily elderly or people with underlying conditions that are at higher risk.  In addition to these folks, Merring also still makes time to assist some elderly relatives of friends, as well.  
Another way that Merring is making a difference is by crafting face masks to be distributed amongst Alfred State employees, family, and friends. She has found her volunteering experiences to be very pleasant and rewarding.
Alfred State Nurse Teri Toth-Fleischman loads one of several coolers filled with meals as part of her volunteer duties with Meals on Wheels.
As for Toth-Fleischman, she started volunteering with Wellsville Emergency Management Services through the Wellsville Volunteer Ambulance Corps & Rescue Squad. This is a new service the squad has initiated in direct response to the COVID-19 crisis.
Through a partnership with Tops, Giant, and Save-A-Lot, the service enables individuals to call in, order items, and pay over the phone. The store then bags the items, calls the service, then Toth-Fleischman or another volunteer picks up the groceries and delivers them to the person’s home. This service has expanded to include Bolivar and Andover due to the high volume of calls.
Additionally, Toth-Fleischman also volunteers with the Office for the Aging delivering Meals on Wheels under the direction of Anita Mattison. These are hot meals provided to the elderly and disabled in Allegany County.
In this experience, Toth-Fleischman has a specific route and uses her own vehicle to deliver anywhere from 18-26 meals daily, driving 50-65 miles per day depending on location. Other assigned duties include grocery delivery, bagging canned/boxed food items, and transporting clients to treatments such as dialysis as needed.
Toth-Fleischman was even asked to conduct a brief teaching session for the other volunteer drivers regarding mask and glove usage and infection control in general. She is appreciative of the opportunity to give back to those in need.