After working on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic, the last place health care workers want to risk the spread of the virus is in their own home.
At the end of March, Emily Phillips took to Facebook to ask if anyone could provide her husband, Dr. Jason Phillips, with temporary housing. An emergency room physician, Jason was worried about bringing the virus home to his family.
Not long after, Phillips’ friend Holly Haggard saw her post and connected the family with an RV owner who offered up the vehicle as a form of temporary housing. That act of kindness inspired Phillips and Haggard, who are based out of Texas, to start the Facebook page RVs 4 MDs. It has since gone viral and garnered more than 24,000 members.
Moorestown resident Noelle Noyes volunteers for the organization to get the word out to both medical professionals and RV owners in the South Jersey and Pennsylvania region. She said RVs for MDs has matched more than 755 medical professionals nationwide as of mid-April.
“I think it’s pretty amazing that this is something that has stemmed from someone wanting to help,” Noyes said. “It’s reached so far and has helped so many people.”
Noyes said she was looking for a way to give back amid the current crisis when she stumbled on the Facebook page. She saw that the organization was looking for volunteers in the New Jersey and Pennsylvania area, and she’s since become a public relations volunteer reaching out to area hospitals.
“There’s such a need in our area; there are so many medical professionals, and New Jersey is having a surge [of cases],” Noyes noted.
Front line medical workers and first responders can go on to the Facebook page and fill out a Google Form. From there, volunteer team members work to match the family with an RV owner in the area. RVs are provided at no cost to health care workers and first responders.
The organization is entirely volunteer-run and operates as a matching service. Once it connects an RV owner with a family, it’s up to both parties to work out the transport details, cleaning and other logistics.
Noyes said not everyone has the ability to self-isolate in a separate part of the house. While medical workers and first responders could pursue staying at a hotel or some other lodging, an RV on the property helps maintain some sense of connection with their family and community. Parents can at least see their children and pets from a distance.
“I think this can really help their morale,” Noyes said.
As a volunteer, she is also actively involved in seeking RV donors. Those interested can get involved by logging on to the Facebook page and filling out a Google Form. Thus far, Noyes has matched two Moorestown families with RV owners.
The organization is also considering a continuation of their work beyond the COVID-19 pandemic. Noyes said there have been discussions about using RVs for MDs to provide shelter to those displaced following hurricanes or other disasters.
To learn more or to get involved, visit https://www.facebook.com/RVs4MDs.