“Hope in a time of despair”: Hundreds volunteer in vaccination efforts
PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WLNE) – From the time the sun goes up, to well beyond when the sun goes down, Lifespan Clinical Pharmacist Melissa Wilk is hard at work fighting the pandemic.
“It’s given me a lot of hope in a time of despair,” Wilk said.
Wilk has been volunteering at the vaccination clinics after a full day of work, 3 to 4 times a week, since December.
“It’s rewarding for me and I know that it’s truly making a difference for the patients and it’s making a difference here in Rhode Island, too,” Wilk said.
She says she’s seen it all from fear to loss to excitement and that working at the clinics has been a rewarding experience.
“A lot of people come in their 70’s, 80’s, 90’s and they say I haven’t seen my family in a year and it’s just heartbreaking,” Wilk said. “After I immunize them, some of them just don’t even want to leave the room!”
Wilk knows the feeling, too. One of the first nights she volunteered, she found out she got to get the shot herself.
“I worked our first clinic on December 14th and I was able to get vaccinated that night,” Wilk said. “I had tears in my eyes.”
She’s part of a village of volunteers who are working to bring an end to the pandemic. From scheduling appointments to transporting the vaccine to giving the shot, she says the team hasn’t skipped a beat.
“I just see it as me doing my part and I know that there’s a need for vaccinators and that there’s a shortage of healthcare providers everywhere,” Wilk said. “I live by the quote Mr. Rogers said: when there’s something scary going on or if you’re in dark times, look for the helpers.”
Lifespan says since the field hospitals shut down, a lot of their contractors went with it. They say there is need for more help especially as more vaccine becomes available and more groups become eligible.
If you want to help, there are a number of ways you can do so. One of those options is to join the Rhode Island Medical Reserve Corps. RI DMAT/MRC | RI Responds