OGDEN — More than a dozen people telephoned or sent emails to the Standard-Examiner newsroom on Wednesday asking how they could help Glenda Lingo.
Lingo is a 55-year-old woman who has been taking her electric wheelchair across the 24th Street viaduct to get her food each month from the Catholic Community Services Joyce Hansen Hall Food Bank.
She was featured in a front-page story in the Standard-Examiner Tuesday.
“This is such a simple thing,” said Lynn Chatterton. “There are so many people who are willing to do this.”
Chatterton is a former manager and education coordinator with Comfort Keepers, an in-home-care agency for those with special non-medical needs.
She’s also executive director of the Jim & Alda Frucci Senior Assistance Foundation, which offered funding and volunteers Wednesday to help Lingo.
Her agency is insured to provide this type of service and officials Wednesday approved having Comfort Keepers supply this transportation should Lingo agree to the service.
Several of the people who notified the newspaper also said they would help other clients of the food bank in need of transportation or other services if they couldn’t help Lingo.
Karen Davis of North Ogden said she was very emotional when she read about Lingo.
“I just felt that in order to pay it forward or be of service to someone, I needed to call and see what I could do to help,” she said.
“It was very touching. It was very moving for me. I know there are elderly people out there. They don’t get the help or respect that they need.”
Marcie Valdez, director of Catholic Community Services of Northern Utah, said volunteers could help as long as liability issues are addressed.
“This is touchy, because we do not have insurance coverage that allows our volunteers to transport people,” she said. “I want to reach out to Weber Human Services to see if they could sign up as a senior companion and do transport that way.”
Valdez said people who want to help with transportation have to go through an agency with insurance for transportation in order to reduce liability and safety and other issues for both clients and volunteers.
Among those who responded Wednesday were people with trucks who said they would haul Lingo and her wheelchair across town, wait for her to collect her groceries and then take her home.
Others suggested Lingo contact other transportation services such as The Ride or Handi-Trans, services that pick up elderly and disabled people from their homes and take them to appointments.
There were groups of women, including Davis, who discussed the possibility of helping elderly and disabled food bank clients haul their groceries to the bus stop a block away or serving in other ways.
Valdez said she hoped those concerned would advocate for a crosswalk at the bus stop on 24th Street near the food bank, safe and handicap access for the 24th Street bridge and handicap accessible sidewalks.
“All of these issues came up at the Ogden City Council meeting (Tuesday night),” she said. “And if people really want to help, advocating to local officials could be the most effective way to help all of our clients.”
Ogden City manager Mark Johnson said a crosswalk to serve food bank clients “would be marvelous.”
But he said 24th Street is a state road so it would be the Utah Department of Transportation’s responsibility to provide a crosswalk there.
Johnson also said down the road, there are plans for the state to re-do the viaduct and when that occurs, the roadway will be safer for everyone.
“I do feel for that lady,” Johnson said. “I do wish someone could pick up her food for her.”
Chatterton said she believes Wednesday’s story likely will serve as a catalyst for more volunteers to help those in need in many ways.
“It’s more of an eye-opening thing,” she said. “It gets people aware.”
To volunteer to help at Catholic Community Services, call Maresha G. Bosgieter, volunteer and community outreach coordinator, at (801) 428-1293.
Contact reporter JaNae Francis at 801-625-4228 or email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter at @SEJaNaeFrancis.