Volunteers Provide Free Rides for Seniors to Receive COVID-19 Vaccine
Source: Community Partners in Caring
With 30 days left in its new mission::vaccinate program, Community Partners in Caring is driven -- literally -- to ensure that any senior aged 62+ or anyone aged 18+ with mobility issues who needs a ride to their vaccination appointment gets a free ride.
“Over 10,000 seniors across our Santa Barbara County community still remain unvaccinated,” said Vilma Contreras, Executive Director. “For many of them, it’s a lack of transportation -- and sometimes funds -- preventing them from getting there. It is our mission to ensure that those seniors who need a ride to get their vaccine can do so.”
“Community Partners in Caring helped me get to my vaccine appointment and I really appreciate it,” said Margaret, a senior in Santa Maria, CA. Without Community Partners in Caring’s help, she wasn’t sure how she was going to get to her appointment.
“While we’ve already completed 801 miles total in route to vaccination sites for seniors during mission::vaccinate, we know there are many homebound seniors like Margaret who don’t have access to transportation and can’t afford transportation services,” Contreras said. “We are here to give seniors a literal “shot in the arm”, and a chance to feel safe and reintegrated in our community.”
In addition to seniors, the mission::vaccinate program is also open to riders over aged 18 who are considered “at risk” with their mobility restricted by a chronic illness and they lack access to transportation.
To be eligible for a free mission::vaccinate ride, program participants must be unable to drive or access affordable transportation and must be able to walk without the assistance of their driver. Canes and walkers will be placed in the vehicle during the ride.
This program is completely free and just a call away. Once registered for a vaccine, individuals just need to schedule a ride by calling 805-925-8000 and give at least two-day notice. Drivers and passengers will adhere to COVID-19 safety protocols and wear a mask at all times.
Community Partners in Caring is also asking for the help of local governments, civic organizations, other nonprofits, and churches, synagogues, and other faith-based organizations to help get the word out to their populations, clients, and congregants.
“Working together, we can reach more seniors and others in need,” said Chun Ng, Community Partners in Caring’s Board President. A packet of sharable resources can be found at partnersincaring.org/missionvaccinate-resources that includes copy-and-paste text and images that can be easily included in organizational websites, e-newsletters, and social media. There are also posters and handouts that can be distributed. If a custom communication piece is needed, contact our office at [email protected] or call 805-925-0125 so that one can be developed.
“Community volunteers are driving mission::vaccinate and we welcome additional volunteers willing to take the wheel for a great cause,” Ng said. Learn more about becoming a mission::vaccinate volunteer driver at www.partnersincaring.org/volunteer or contact Partners in Caring at [email protected] or 805-925-8000.
In addition to offering mission::vaccinate rides in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Community Partners in Caring also offers an array of other free services to area seniors, including grocery pick-up/delivery, free food delivery, senior programming enrollment, rides to medical appointments, light housekeeping, and “friendly calls” to break up the day and reduce senior isolation.