Volunteer transportation service provided by MSC

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Audrey Schaefer discovered the Multi-Service Centre's Transportation Services in March when she needed a ride to the hospital.

"I said, 'I can't believe this - I have a whole list of friends, and my family, and nobody can take me to the hospital,'" said Schaefer.

"People all have their own lives," she added with a smile.

Her neighbour suggested the Multi-Service Centre in Tillsonburg, which provides an affordable transportation service to 55-and-older clients, so she called and received prompt service.

"I think I called about two days before I needed the ride (to Woodstock) and she called me back within an hour or two and said, 'I got you a ride.' Henry was his name, and he waited three hours for me. Cataracts, I can't believe I was in there that long. He made sure I got to the area I was supposed to be, made sure I was in the right place, and said 'I'm going to do some shopping, I'll be back in a couple hours.' He was very, very good."

That was her first experience with Transportation Services, but not the last.

"I needed another ride (to London) when I had surgery done on my left knee. The doctor needed me there at 6 in the morning, surgery at 8. My ride was there at 4:45 - I couldn't believe it! I said, 'Do you mind getting up this early?' He said 'No, I did construction work, I'm quite used to it.' I thought that was pretty neat.

"He made sure I came into the building, carried my overnight bag for me, and made sure I was in the right spot before he left. That was Rich."

On the way to London, she asked Rich how long he had been a driver, how often, and did he like the job?

"He said 'yep' and 'we really need drivers.' He said 'I've made four trips this week, they're busy.'"

Schaefer, retired and available, figured she could help, she just had to wait the six-plus weeks after surgery.

"They made me a driver, so here I am," she said, noting her first two trips - both to Norwich - were in late September. "And I am enjoying it! It's very rewarding and I'm meeting new people. I feel... needed. You know, when you get to a certain age the families grow up, they have their own lives, and so grandma has to get her own life too."

Every week since she has provided transportation, typically two or three times each week.

"It's interesting and I've been to some places I've never been before."

Basic transportation is just one of many programs offered at the Multi-Service Centre to help seniors and people with disabilities maintain their independence. Other programs include Meal Delivery, Assisted Living, Housekeeping, Home at Last, Exercise, and Foot Care.

"It's amazing, the volunteer hours," said Diana Handsaeme, Home Support Manager, noting some recent MSC statistics.


18,324 Assisted Living hours - 41 clients.

2,460 Senior Foot Care hours - 491 clients.

8,072 Meals on Wheels delivered -168 clients.

2,905 Personal Support and Homemaking hours - 151 clients.

2,960 Transportation Drives - 146 clients.

5,963 Volunteer hours -106 volunteers, 12 corporate teams.

"The government wants people to remain in their homes as long as possible, so to do that, we try to provide the services needed to facilitate that," said Handsaeme.

"We want to increase public awareness of what community support services are and why they are an important part of the health care system."

If you would like to volunteer to be a Transportation Volunteer, contact Aleshia Wattie, MSC Home Support Special Services Coordinator, (519) 842-9008 ext. 357 or email awattie@multiservicecentre.com.


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