Highlands Chamber launches Neighbors Helping Neighbors initiative

The simple task of going to the grocery store, getting school supplies, setting up a computer for work or school at home, and needed repairs can be challenging given social distancing. Sometimes help is just a call away, but people don’t know who to call.

Highlands Chamber of Commerce and Visitor’s Center has begun an initiative to put information and resources into one spot for those who need services and support.

The Neighbors Helping Neighbors program is being set up to accomplish 3 objectives:

  • Create a single point of contact for services that are already being provided by the good people of Highlands.
  • Enable people to call, send an email, or go to the website to become a volunteer.
  • To provide an email, website, and call-in service, for anyone to ask for assistance, learn about what is being provided and receive support.

“We have been receiving numerous calls and emails from people with concerns and questions and recognized that we could assist our residents by gathering information from businesses, churches, and nonprofits about what assistance is available,” said Chamber Executive Director Kaye McHan.

McHan, along with Highlands resident and volunteer Matt Eberz; Dave Muellar, Stringman Media; and David Moore, International Friendship Center Board Chair, came up with a game plan for an all-volunteer run Neighbors Helping Neighbors.

What services can Neighbors Helping Neighbors provide?

  • Grocery/Food Pantry Pickup and Delivery
  • Pharmacy Pickup and Delivery
  • Post Office Mail Pickup and Delivery
  • Simple Home Repairs
  • Simple Auto Assistance
  • Simple Remote Computer Help
  • Others as Required

Kaye said they have already recruited 20 volunteers, some of which have been sent out on multiple calls assisting neighbors.

“We view our job as not only supporting the business community, but also supporting Highlands in continuing to be a great place to live,” she said. “We are passionate about our caring mountain community.”

How will it work?

The Neighbors Helping Neighbors program will be staffed with both Operations Volunteers and Responder Volunteers. Upon receiving an assistance request, either through email, website, or phone call; the Operations Volunteer will:

  • Check the list of available support to determine what can be utilized
  • Coordinate directly with the organization or volunteer for needed support
  • Pair the Responder with the Neighbor
  • Volunteers will follow all safety protocols, coordinate a time to accomplish the task, and report the results to the Operations Volunteer.
  • The Operations Volunteer will monitor all support and ensure our Neighbor has been assisted as best we can.

Kaye added that businesses are also a part of the Neighbors Helping Neighbors initiative.

“We are dependent on our small businesses to provide services and goods to residents, but they are also at the heart of our economy and we can’t afford to lose them,” she said. “Buy gift cards, make reservations and prepay, shop local online, order meals for takeout or delivery. Our businesses have been serving the community for years and they now need our help. Please support our local businesses, Neighbors Helping Neighbors!”

Where to go to volunteer or be helped?

What’s Next?

The Highlands Chamber of Commerce is:

  • Developing a master list of current community services
  • Recruiting volunteers to list their talents and ability to help

Image at the top of the article courtesy of Highlands Chamber of Commerce and Visitors Center.

Article by Brian O’Shea
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