| Mar 01, 2007


Feature Article - March 1, 2007

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Feature Article - March 1, 2007

Land o' Lakes Community Services:Transportation Program

by Cheryl Hartwick

Since April 1, 2006, Land O’ Lakes Community Services has provided 921 drives for 139 different clients. This has been done with only 14 volunteer drivers! Fourteen very devoted, volunteer drivers are insufficient to provide the necessary service to our clients and our community.

How the program works:

A client calls LOLCS to request a drive and gives the date, time and location of an appointment. Staff at LOLCS then call drivers from our list to see if anyone is available. There are times when no volunteer driver is available. Sometimes, due to weather, holidays, health and/or previous commitments we are unable to fulfil the request. This leaves the client scrambling to find alternate means of transportation. It is always best to give LOLCS as much notice as possible, about the need for a ride.

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We currently pay our drivers $0.35/km and charge our clients $0.20/km. For some clients this represents a cost that they find difficult to afford, others have the costs paid for by other agencies such as Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP), Veterans Affairs and Community Care Access Centre. LOLCS pays the difference between mileage costs paid to our volunteers and mileage costs charged to the client. For example, we charge $0.20/km to the client and pay the volunteer driver $0.35/km; this means that we pay $0.15/km. This system is no longer working for Land O’ Lakes Community Services; it is creating budgeting difficulties. Other options are being explored and we will keep the community informed regarding any changes.

One big challenge of the program is the need for dialysis drivers. Currently, LOLCS provides dialysis drives for 3 clients who are required to have treatments at least three days a week, sometimes four. The dialysis procedure is a minimum of 4 hours on top of the drive time (dialysis is done in Kingston ) which requires a huge time commitment.

The 14 volunteer drivers we currently have do a wonderful job. They are extremely committed and provide a much needed service to our community. However, with so few drivers and so many clients, volunteer burnout is inevitable.

We need your help! Your community needs your help! Please call Land O’ Lakes Community Services to become a volunteer driver, 613-336-8934.

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