By Conrad Dudderar
Senior Staff Writer
Although its accessible van service has been halted due to COVID-19, a non-profit Yukon ministry is serving more people in temporary crisis.
The Compassionate Hands’ office, 119 S Sixth, remains open during the week to support individuals and families with critical needs.
“We’re still helping people with rent, utilities, prescriptions, along with personal and baby items,” Compassionate Hands’ director Joanne Riley said. “They need to call our number (354-9591) and we’ll take their information from them.
“The only requirement is that they live in the 73099-zip code or the Yukon school system,” Riley said.
A ministry of the Yukon Ministerial Alliance since 1994, Compassionate Hands offers rent assistance, temporary lodging, utility bills, prescriptions, and gasoline cards for clients to go to and from work and medical appointments.
Compassionate Hands provides personal items like diapers, baby wipes, shampoo, soap, toothpaste, toothbrushes, and personal hygiene products to those who need it.
“We expect to see the number of people we help increase with so many being laid off and because it’s so hard to access unemployment benefits,” Riley said.
Compassionate Hands serves an average of 25 households with 50 family members per month.
“I’m sure that’s going to increase,” Riley said.
VAN USED TO DELIVER FOOD
Through its Care-A-Van program, Compassionate Hands has – until recently – provided transportation for seniors and people with disabilities.
“We have suspended the Care-A-Van service to protect the population we serve – the elderly and people with medical conditions – and our staff,” Riley said. “We are excited that our vans will be used by Manna Pantry to deliver food to people in need during this time when many of our residents cannot leave their homes.”
Compassionate Hands is allowing its S Sixth Street neighbor and fellow non-profit to use its van and a volunteer driver.
Because of the virus-related restrictions forbidding gatherings of more than 10 people, Compassionate Hands had to postpone a “Whodunit” mystery dinner theater that was planned in March.
They hope to reschedule the benefit this fall.
Besides fund-raisers like the mystery dinner theater, Compassionate Hands operates through grants, annual church gifts and individual donations.
“We’re still dependent on the generosity of our community to help those who are struggling at this time,” Riley said.
Learn more about Compassionate Hands by visiting compassionatehandsyukon.org or calling the office at 354-9591.