Aging, Elderly, Senior Citizens
As the reality of the seriousness of the COVID-19 pandemic began to evolve in early March, 2020, 60+ Ride knew very early that we would have to stop transporting our clients through our volunteer and minivan program due to the extreme risk of exposing both our clients and 60+ volunteers (most of whom are over 60) to the virus. We discontinued our regular free-ride program on March 12 until further notice. Starting Wednesday, March 25, the local public transportation service, Greeley-Evans Transit (GET), suspended all regular fixed-route operations, including Poudre Express (transportation between Greeley and Fort Collins), and temporarily transitioned to exclusively Call-n-Ride services for the general public and paratransit riders.
In order to continue to assist our regular clients (and any new older adults in the community, regardless of prior involvement with the organization) through this crisis, we immediately began to make plans to move to a Grocery & Rx Delivery Program using new and some existing volunteer drivers. Our staff, all of whom were working from home, were able to quickly put in place a system where staff members coordinated grocery and prescription ordering with the clients online through the Weld Food Bank (WFB) or local grocery stores, and then our volunteer drivers picked up groceries/prescriptions curbside (following a very specific disinfectant/handling protocol) and delivered them to the front porch of our clients' homes without the clients ever having to touch or interact with the public. Funding was received from the local Weld Recovers Fund to assist with paying for the groceries/prescription if a lack of financial resources was a barrier.
As we continue to deal with the long term effects of Covid in 2021, we also continue to provide these essential services to our clients, thanks to the generosity of volunteers, donors, and the community.
Through the Grocery Delivery Program we have been able to continue to provide critical basic wellness services for our older adult population throughout the continuing pandemic. Through August 31st, we served 14 unduplicated individuals with 175 grocery deliveries. A total of $18,229.16 in groceries were purchased, of which $1,865.49 was reimbursed by matching local grants, and approx. $ 350 in emergency food boxes from the Weld Food Bank. 60+ Ride employees continue to work regular hours providing grocery ordering/volunteer coordination/ support services (intake, scheduling, troubleshooting).
Disabled, General or Disability unspecified
Ethnic/Racial Minorities - General
People/Families of People with Health Conditions
Poor, Economically Disadvantaged, Indigent
60+ Ride's volunteer drivers and staffed minivan transport Weld County's aging population (60 years old and older) door through door to medical appointments, grocery stores, financial and government institutions, social events, houses of worship, and personal grooming appointments free of charge. This program is the only free transportation program available in Weld County targeting the very low income population. Not only do these services directly increase older adults' ability to maintain their health and independence through consistent availability of medical care, but these same services reduce re-hospitalization, offer a way to increase nutrition quality through fresh food, and decrease social isolation and the resulting depression. This translates into both quality of life for Weld's 60+ population and the financial benefit of fewer people depending heavily on government social services.
While the majority of rides provided are in the Greeley/Evans area (about 75%), 60+ Ride has actively expanded to the Carbon Valley area of south Weld County (Frederick, Firestone, and Dacono) over the past several years, and the agency is in the early stages of offering services in nearby Fort Lupton, as well. A major three-year strategic goal is to build capacity (through volunteer drivers with staff support), to be able to cover many more areas of rural Weld County. The organization is also developing plans to seek federal funding to add a handicapped-accessible van program to its services within the next 18 months.
In 2019, SRS provided 8,980 rides to 255 unduplicated riders utilizing both part-time van drivers as well as over 9,736 volunteer driver hours to keep this critical resource free to at-risk aging adults in Weld County. 60+ Ride provides services to all older adults regardless of race, ethnicity, or income. The target population is elderly and frail individuals who do not drive and do not use public transportation because of cost or accessibility. The majority of registered riders are women (90%) and 16% are Hispanic (although 40% of rides are made by Hispanic riders who have a higher dialysis treatment need). Approximately 90% of riders are living at or below 50% ($22,900) of the Area Median Income for a single person ($45,800).
We evaluate annual surveys to determine the satisfaction level of our clients and volunteers, and apply that learning to our program management. Our program success is more straight-forward than most, since the act of giving our clients the transportation they need necessarily gives them greater ability to continue living independently. Because of this, the number of rides given has a direct correlation to our success.
I (Janet Bedingfield, Executive Director) find myself wishing I could have a conversation with you rather than writing this. There are so many good stories - many sad, but more that are touching or inspiring, and quite a few that are humorous. When you support SRS you are giving to
• Bill, who went blind at age 37 and is amazingly independent with the use of his guide dog.
• Shirley, who 60+ Ride transported to her sister's house across town to spend the weekend catching up and reminiscing. Neither can drive and they hadn't seen each other in a year.
• Marilyn, whose son works two jobs, lives with and helps care for his wife's father who has Alzheimer's, and lets his mom's dog out daily. He takes her to as many appointments as he's able.
• Carlene, who happily chatted for an hour before breaking into sobs once her client intake was complete because she had an upcoming medical appointment and hadn't known how she would get to it. She recently moved to Greeley without friends or family nearby.
Their stories are the true indicators of our success.