For many of our older neighbors, losing the ability to drive means losing access to critical health care, necessary grocery trips and much-needed social interactions. Additionally, people who live below the poverty level, have Medicaid, or live in rural areas have a more difficult time accessing medical care and healthy food. Through its transportation services Hearts and Hands increases access to medical care, food, and opportunities for physical and social activity.
We accomplish this by providing transportation that meets the unique needs of older adults living in Erie and Eastern Niagara Counties. Volunteers use their personal vehicles to provide door-through-door escorted transportation for our care recipients. There are no set schedules or routes and we are able to take a care receiver anywhere at any time as long as a volunteer is available. Our care receivers do not need computers, smart phones or internet access to request services. There is no charge to care receivers for our services.
Other transportation options are often not appropriate for the older adults we serve. Mobility impairments often make public transportation inaccessible even when it is available, they are not able to get to bus stops or board busses especially in the winter. Transportation services like Uber and Lyft are not accessible because our care receivers lack computer or internet services. Family members and friends are often unavailable to help due to distance or work and family responsibilities.
Hearts and Hands has been identified as a best practice agency offering a solution to identified transportation needs especially in the senior populations. The Hearts and Hands program is noted by the Oishei Foundation's Mobile Safety Net Community Assessments and is cited in the Human Service Transportation Plan by the Greater Buffalo Niagara Regional Transportation Center.