Officials at Canal Winchester Human Services are hoping to secure the money needed to buy a new vehicle and expand the senior transportation options they offer.
Human Services Administrator Penny Miller said the organization's Senior Transportation Program has continued to grow each year it's been offered, which is why she's hoping to raise the matching funds to purchase a new handicap-accessible minivan using an Ohio Department of Transportation grant.
"In 2013, more than 4,000 one-way trips were provided through both the daily transportation program as well as the group trips that we coordinate for the seniors," Miller said. "Personal appointments to places such as doctor appointments are available every Monday through Friday and there are weekly group trips to the grocery store, the Tuesday senior lunches and on Wednesday to the Community Food Pantry."
In addition, the part-time Senior Transportation drivers also help take participants to and from two planned social outings each month, Miller said.
The program is available anyone age 60 or older who has disabilities that prohibit them from driving and who lives with the Canal Winchester school district boundaries.
Miller said Human Services has been very grateful for the use of a minivan loaned by Jeff Wyler Chevrolet since last June, but she hopes the new handicap-accessible minivan might be available to the program by April.
"In December, Human Services was very excited to be awarded an opportunity to purchase a handicap-accessible minivan through a grant provided by ODOT," she said. "Canal Winchester Human Services is now working to raise funds to pay the required 20-percent match - about $7,000 - with the balance of the funding being provided through a federal grant administered by ODOT."
The Senior Transportation Program receives significant support from the city of Canal Winchester, Madison Township and the Franklin County Senior Options Program; however, Miller said, tax-deductible contributions are being solicited for the purchase of the new minivan and for its operating expenses.
"For some seniors, these trips are their only outing of the week," she said. "With the Wednesday trip to the food pantry, we not only to cater to their nutritional needs, but it gives us a chance to listen to what else is going on and see if we can offer other assistance as well."
More information about the program or about making a donation is available by calling Miller at 614-834-3888 or online at www.cwhumanservices.org.