30 Jul Smoke filled air drives away food bank volunteers
The hazy sky and poor air quality are making a lot of people want to stay indoors.
This could impact many businesses, such as ACCESS.
ACCESS is a non-profit organization in Medford that helps low-income families. One of the services they offer is a food pantry, which runs outside of their building out of a mobile truck.
“We try and keep folks outside in the waiting area as long as possible so they’re not standing out in the smoke. So for clients at least we’re able to limit the exposure,” Rachael Ward, nutrition director with ACCESS, said.
Although they try to keep everyone inside as much as possible, this is not the case for the volunteers.
“The biggest change we’ve seen is in terms of volunteers. When it gets really smokey outside, a lot of volunteers who have health issues aren’t able to come and help us out with our mobile food pantry — so that’s the biggest impact we’ve seen with the smoke,” Ward said.
Ward says ACCESS does give out masks, but it is challenging to find volunteers when the air quality is so poor because people don’t want to be in the smoke for that long.
“For the volunteers, they have to be out there the whole time so it can be hard if folks have those health issues,” Ward said.
She also mentions the more volunteers they have, the shorter shifts they would be able to take so one person would not have to be breathing in smoke for hours at a time.
“The more volunteers we have, the less of a burden it is on one individual person,” Ward said.
If you would like to volunteer with ACCESS, you can visit their website at www.accesshelps.org and click on volunteer.