In Woodstock, Ont., The Salvation Army’s reliable, affordable and safe, transportation program is making life easier for people like Barrie Cannon.
“Getting a ride to my medical appointments takes a huge burden off me,” says Barrie, 71. ”I can’t drive because of heart issues, and my specialist appointments are 40-minutes away. Before I started using this program I’d pay up to $150 for a taxi. Many times I gave up food to afford the trip.”
In 2012, Toyota Canada donated a RAV4 to The Salvation Army. Since then, hundreds of vulnerable people have been transported to medical appointments.
“More and more people are using the service. That tells me there is a definite need,” says Vanessa Giuliano, The Salvation Army’s Family Services Director in Woodstock.
Every day, sometimes three times a day, and for a small fee, people facing transportation barriers are taken to medical appointments such as dialysis treatments, blood labs, cast clinics and mental health support.
“These are people on fixed incomes who can’t afford taxis, whose friends or relatives aren’t available, or who have physical and psychological limitations that prevent them from using public transportation,” says Giuliano.
Pierrette LeClair is on disability due to fibromyalgia. She appreciates the extra efforts that volunteer driver, Terry, takes to ensure she is safely in the vehicle and at the right place for her appointments.
“Terry picks me up at my apartment building and drives me to the hospital in London,” says Pierrette. “I don’t know my way around that city, so door-to-door service takes a lot of stress off of me. Then he helps me find the waiting room. Sometimes I’ve been there for up to three hours before Terry takes me home. When he drops me at my door he waits until I am safely inside. It doesn’t get much better than that.”