Volunteers needed for popular transportation service in Anoka County

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A service that helps people in Anoka County get to their medical appointments is making some tough changes due to a shortage of volunteers.

Medlink is a transportation service in Anoka County that’s fueled by volunteer drivers and donations. It provides senior citizens and veterans transportation to their doctor appointments.

While demand for the service is higher than ever, the number of volunteers has been declining since the pandemic.

Medlink provides rides for about 2,300 passengers. Before the pandemic, the program had about 50 volunteer drivers and provided about 80 rides a week. Now, they are down to 35 drivers and have had to limit rides to one per week.

Officials are now hoping more drivers come forward.

“We are just trying to help as many passengers as we can,” said Mark Schermerhorn, the lead transit program specialist with Anoka County.

Steven Singleton has been a volunteer for about two years. He says the position might be volunteer but he gets a lot back, too.

“A lot of time, we are their only contact to the outside world,” Singleton said. “If we don’t take them to their appointments, they don’t leave their houses. It’s overwhelming.”

Anyone interested in learning more about how to help can find more information online.