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Still providing HELP during pandemic

Please visit our COVID-19 resource page for the most current information about Red Cross programs, support, and tips. 

The COVID-19 pandemic hasn’t stopped Avel Juatco from going into people’s homes to set them up with wheelchairs, walkers, hospital beds or lifts.

It just means that the Health Equipment Loan Program technician has to wear personal protective gear like masks and gloves to ensure her own safety and that of her clients in Metro Vancouver, B.C.

Avel pictured in the HELP depot“We’re still doing the same job, we’re just more cautious,” says Avel, who started out as a volunteer four years ago, but became a full-time Red Cross employee after a year.

The HELP program loans medical equipment to people who need aids at home to recuperate from an injury or get on with life after an illness.

“They’re always so grateful to receive the equipment when I know how devastating it can be to need the equipment,” says Juatco.

“There’s always a new normal. You can see it in their eyes that things are changing rapidly and it can be overwhelming.”

It’s sad to witness people losing their mobility or balance, however the health equipment loan program allows the people to be more independent and helps families care for them safely.

“It’s a little more faith and a little more hope… You’re going through a life change right now and people are here to help you.”

While connecting with clients is a gratifying part of her job, Avel loves seeing her co-workers, too.

“The people I work with are amazing. Everyone comes from a different background so I get to see the best of all cultures. It’s like meeting your friends at work.”

Thank you, Avel, for your incredible contribution. The HELP is such an important service, people like you make it possible.
Our HELP program continues to operate in provinces where offered, though modified to meet safety requirements and guidelines for the protection of clients, staff and volunteers. If you would like to access this program please contact your local Red Cross branch.

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