Cadillac Area Community Foundation Offers Grant to WexExpress to Provide Free Vaccine Appointment Rides
As more and more vaccine clinics open up, there may be some people that want the vaccine, but don’t have any way to get to their appointment.
WexExpress had been receiving calls from people who needed to get to their vaccine appointments locally.
“With general public transit, it’s just a little cumbersome to be able to put somebody on a bus, take them to the vaccine clinic, then wait the 15 minutes,” said Executive Director Carrie Thompson. “We need a little bit more personal care or personal touch with the ride.”
The transit company already utilizes a volunteer-based service called New Freedom.
“The New Freedom volunteer program uses volunteer drivers to transport passengers anywhere from Wexford county anywhere in the state of Michigan where they need to go for those medical appointments,” said Kendall.
With the help from a $1,500 grant from the Cadillac Area Community Foundation, WexExpress is using New Freedom to take people to vaccine clinics for free.
“The volunteers will pick them up at their home, they will take them and drive them to the vaccine clinic,” said Kendall. “The volunteer will stay there and wait for the person to come out of the clinic.”
A federal grant through the New Freedom program matched Cadillac Area Community Foundation’s $1,500 grant, totaling $3,000 for this service.
The grant pays volunteers 50 cents a mile.
“Last month we did about 150 rides and we’re looking at doing a few more than that already this month,” said Kendall.
And it’s clear the program has helped bring a little bit of freedom back to people’s lives.
“One gentleman talked about how he hasn’t been able to see his mother in over a year,” said Kendall. “Being able to get his vaccine and get that taken care of so he can now see his family, he was just overjoyed.”
To sign up for a ride, or to volunteer, you can call 231-942-7900.