Drive a Senior Northwest

“Are you available to provide a ride for someone?” is a call I get sometimes from our volunteer office. It may be for a ride for a medical appointment, to be picked up after their dialysis treatment, to attend Mass, or to go shopping.  Many of us at Peace are volunteers with Faith in Action, Drive a Senior, Northwest who “drive a senior” somewhere. . We help men and women who are not able to drive or should not be driving. I especially like to help people who are on kidney dialysis.

The Drive a Senior office sends out a daily email which has a list of clients who need assistance for the day, and for the coming weeks. Normally this is how I find out who needs a ride, or maybe it is a “handyman repair” request. Because I live near to Leander and more of our volunteers live in Austin, I look for people who need rides near to me; this is more convenient for me and reduces time for other volunteers who live in Austin and would then need to drive way up here. We volunteers can help as often as we wish. My goal is to help at least one person each week but sometimes I provide 2-3 rides a week. 

Those we help are so grateful.  A bond of friendship develops with those we drive over and again. We save money for those seniors who have very limited income from having to hire drivers. We can’t help everyone, but one at a time Drive a Senior volunteers collectively provided 8057 rides in 2018.  About 800 requests are made each month and we on the average we fill 750 of these.  Those other 50 have to reschedule their medical appointment, go on another day or find their own way.  56 new seniors have been already added in the first quarter of 2019, so the need is ever expanding. 

Driving a senior is very satisfying. Help is needed in the office too. This is faith put into action, one person at a time. 

Rodger Ericson
April 2018
When I worked fulltime I thought I did not have time to volunteer. Thinking that 2 or 3 hours a week would not do anyone any good. In 2004 Greg and I and my mom moved to Austin for his job transfer. It took a while to get settled into a new home and town. I was no longer working except for around the house. The following year I found myself having to drive Mom to radiation treatments for 6 weeks. What would have been the last week of radiation, Greg and I had a weekend get-away planned for our anniversary. While in the doctor’s office there was information about volunteer based program called Faith in Action. They help seniors with transportation. Arrangements were made with them to drive Mom to her final 2 treatments. I told Faith in Action-NW (now Drive a Senior-NW) that I would provide a couple of volunteer rides since they were able help Mom. I soon found out how appreciated volunteering can be for both the giver and recipient. That was 13 years ago and I’m still a volunteer with them either driving someone to an appointment or working in the office answering the phone and scheduling rides.
Carol McMillan
August 2018