By David F. Rooney
Faced with growing demand for its services, the Volunteer Medical Transportation Program has just received a sorely needed infusion of $2,000 from the Revelstoke Hospital Auxiliary.
Organized and coordinated by the Seniors’ Association, the program provides people with transportation to and from their out-of-town medical appointments when they have no other options.
That cheque will go a long way towards helping the volunteer-based program but it needs more than money. Sharply increased demand for its services means it needs more volunteer drivers. These figures clearly show its growth:
In 2010 – 2011 it provided 14 drives out of town and spent $865 on fuel;
In 2011 – 2012 it provided 47 drives out of town and spent $3,650 on fuel; and
In 2012 – 2013 it provided 88 drives our of town and spent $6,775 on fuel.
That kind of growth clearly shows that the program needs more drivers than the 18 volunteers it currently has, says Jean Pedersen, the association’s volunteer coordinator.
“We have 90 clients who rely on the program,” she said. “Volunteer drivers receive money for fuel, a meal allowance and a little bit for wear and tear. The program carries excess third-party liablity insurance for its volunteers so they don’t have to increase their personal insurance coverage in order to volunteer.”
Seniors Association President Ruth Boettger said the program is sponsored by the Columbia Basin Trust and the Revelstoke Credit Union. Grants from those organizations pay the wages for a volunteer coordinator. Besides the Hospital Auxiliary, the program has also received support from the Knights of Columbus, the Order of the Eastern Star, the Knights of Pythias, the Moberly Park Foundation, Branch 46 of the Royal Canadian legion, the Italian-Canadian Club, the Lions Club and the District Health Foundation.