Volunteers hope to inspire others to help with efforts to end the pandemic

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- When the pandemic is finally over, history may well note how the era brought out the best in many Americans.

Certainly here in the Triangle where volunteering is on the rise, those who serve the needy can use all the help they can get right now.

And, thanks to the computer age, many of you, including some who are high-risk, have been able to volunteer without even leaving your home.

Fortunately, there are also those with front-line experience who are able to do in-person work.

They are people like retired pharmacist Shirley Heiman of Cary who told ABC11, "I have been volunteering throughout the pandemic. I volunteer probably at least twice a week."

Heiman helps out at the Open Door Clinic run by Urban Ministries in Raleigh.

"Because this pandemic has been so devastating to people and their livelihoods and their health, I just wanted to do everything that I could to help fight this virus," Heiman said, "And because I have a medical background, I felt like it was good to work at the clinic."

She said volunteering is also a cure for pandemic boredom.

"To help you break that isolation and help you to go out into the community and serve and meet other people. And there's a variety of ways you can volunteer," Heiman said.

Heiman was one of a number of ABC11 viewers who reached out to us recently asking how they could volunteer to help get people vaccinated, something she said she herself is already doing: "I have received my first dose because I'm a health care professional."

And now, she wants to see everyone else get vaccinated and end the pandemic.

Being a certified pharmacy vaccinator, Heiman has signed up with the state's Division of Public Health through the North Carolina Board of Pharmacy to volunteer in that effort.

Even the state emergency management director is encouraging people to volunteer for the vaccination effort.

He has noted that people can sign up on the NC Emergency Management website.

Heiman was involved in her first vaccination event last weekend in one of the most underserved communities in the state, the 27610 ZIP code in southeast Raleigh.

"I felt like I was doing just my little, small part in trying to help out with this pandemic," she said.

She hopes others will see fit to help out, too.
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