Seniors with mobility issues benefited from a Chilliwack Community Services program that provided rides to medical appointments. That program has been eliminated. (Black Press file photo)

Chilliwack Community Services ends Community Driver program

The volunteer-driven offering helped clients get to important medical appointments

A program that has provided thousands of rides for people in need is shutting down.

Chilliwack Community Services (CCS) has been forced to pull the plug on the Community Drivers Program. For nearly 20 years, volunteer drivers have provided door-to-door transportation for people needing to get to important appointments.

But with strict health and safety precautions in effect due to COVID-19, the program can’t carry on.

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“We have evaluated whether or not the program is able to provide service in a way that ensures the health and well-being of our clients and volunteers, and have made the difficult decision to eliminate the program,” said Kate Healy, the CCS director of youth, housing, seniors and training/education. “Chilliwack Community Services is grateful to the employees and volunteers who have dedicated time and energy to the Community Drivers program over the last 20 years. This program has provided essential transportation to vulnerable individuals in our community, ensuring they are able to access their medical appointments in a safe manner with a friendly volunteer.”

In an average year, the Community Driver program provided 3000-plus rides, with registered and screened volunteers donating more than 12,000 hours of their time as they ranged from Hope all the way into Vancouver. Rides were provided seven days a week, and the loss of the program leaves a void to be filled.

“We have and continue to connect with the City of Chilliwack, Fraser Health and our local community partners at this time to fully evaluate the needs of Chilliwack and determine how Chilliwack Community Services can best meet the needs,” Healy said. “We know CCS has a role to play but we want to ensure we are filling gaps in collaboration with existing resources.

“Over the next year we are researching and evaluating the need, with the hope of launching a new transportation service for Chilliwack when it is safe to do so.”


@ProgressSports
eric.welsh@theprogress.com

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