Ark Valley Helping Hands (AVHH), a non-profit, neighbor-to-neighbor volunteer-based organization has been serving residents of Chaffee County since 2015. While AVHH has always been a county-wide organization, the northern half of the county hasn’t had someone on staff dedicated to growing the organization in Buena Vista, Nathrop, and the surrounding areas. This has now changed.
As of mid-July, Nancy Best is the designated coordinator for the northern half of Chaffee County.
Originally called A Little Help, the name changed in 2019. AVHH supports elders in the county by providing in-home services, transportation to appointments and shopping, and offers connections with neighbors to remain in their homes as an integrated part of the community.
AVHH leadership recognizes that many elder members of our community are forced to move to other areas when they need a little more help than they can manage on their own in order to continue living independently. According to AVHH, “This is a great loss to them and to all of us in Chaffee County; we lose their contribution, their wisdom, and the diversity that every community needs to be self-sustaining and vibrant.”
The organization’s volunteers work directly with elder members to give them that extra hand that enhances their lives and opens up new possibilities for thriving, rather than just surviving. Volunteers donate as much time as is comfortable for them, with no minimum required, and choose which requests they would like to fulfill. AVHH volunteers consistently say that through their service, they receive more than they give.
Typical services provided (during non-COVID-19 pandemic times):
- Transportation to grocery stores, medical appointments, places of worship, errands, and social and educational events
- Household handiwork
- Snow removal
- Household organization
- Help with bills
- Technology help
- Light house cleaning
- Care calls
- Friendly visits
- Educational talks
- Caregiver respite
- Two Senior Saturdays per year for seasonal chores.
Due to the current pandemic, services have had to be curtailed to delivering groceries and medications, and to those that can be done remotely, like phone calls, and outdoors, like yard work. According to Best, “We are very much looking forward to when we can again offer our full range of services.”
Best comes well-placed for the job, already enjoying a wide network of contacts in the area. Her first contacts were made while working at the Ark-Valley Humane Society, then as a pet sitter and correspondent for the Chaffee County Times, writing Meet Your Neighbor and other human interest articles. She currently works in the office of the Congregational United Church of Christ and drives a school bus. These jobs being less than full-time, she has also worked a variety of other part-time and summer jobs.
She has just completed four years of service on the Buena Vista School Board and has participated in numerous volunteer activities. This experience gives Best a broad perspective on the people and needs of Chaffee County; Buena Vista in particular. She says she is excited to begin this new endeavor and to make Ark Valley Helping Hands a household name.
Best is working closely with Sara Ward in Salida and together they will be striving to make AVHH all it can be. If you are interested in learning more about AVHH as either a member or volunteer, visit www.arkvalley.helpfulvillage.org, call 719-530-1198, or email to firstname.lastname@example.org.