Longtime Renton resident Yim Wong relies on Volunteer Transportation to get to her medical appointments. After undergoing a recent major surgery and dealing with multiple health challenges, rides to the doctor are crucial for Yim. Volunteer Transportation, a service for seniors provided by Sound Generations (Senior Services’ new name), utilizes volunteers to drive seniors like Yim to and from their medical appointments. Yim greatly appreciates the wonderful volunteer drivers who use their own vehicles to make a meaningful impact in their communities, one mile at a time.
Transportation was a huge burden in Yim’s life. While she has family in the area, her daughter Cindy is a full time mother to young children and does not have access to a car during the day to take her mother to the doctor. Therefore, Yim previously had to take a taxi to her appointments and that cost at least $55 one way, eating up around $110 of her limited income on transportation to one medical appointment. This consumed her finances as she sometimes had multiple appointments a week. If there was a bad traffic jam, this could sky rocket to $90 each way which was on top of her existing medical expenses. “If you’re a senior, if you’re retired, how do you afford that?” she questions.
In addition to alleviating financial stress, Volunteer Transportation also provided Yim with a social and personalized experience. Since registering for the program in June, the service has had a great impact on her life. Her daughter Cindy emphasized the importance it has for her mother, “The program helps a lot; it takes her to and from her appointments conveniently. And it’s helpful if you really do need a ride.”
Not only does the program benefit the clients receiving rides, but it also benefits the volunteers, as it is a fulfilling way to give back and support the community. Volunteer drivers often report that they get back as much as they give to the program. The program boasts many 20, 25, and even 30 year volunteer drivers, emphasizing the positive experience on both sides.
Unfortunately, there are not enough drivers to respond to the current demands for this service, especially in the Renton area. Seniors like Yim are sometimes turned away because there are simply not enough drivers to keep up with the community need. In the Renton area the program is only able to give about 80% of the rides requested, meaning more seniors are not making it to the life sustaining appointments they need.
More Volunteer drivers are needed to lighten the load for local seniors. To learn more about volunteering with Volunteer Transportation, please contact Kailan Tyler-Babkirk,Volunteer Recruitment and Outreach Coordinator. She can be reached at 206.748.7588 or by email. Help us go the extra mile to support our Renton seniors.
— by Celeste Endlich