AMHERST, N.Y. (WKBW) — There is a growing population of seniors across Erie county who are no longer able to drive, but still want to maintain their livelihood.
That’s where Amherst-based organization Hearts and Hands is stepping in to help.
It was created using grants in 2003 and today it provides free transportation services to 756 people in Western New York who are unable to get themselves where they need to be.
This could be a doctor’s appointment, a grocery store run, the post office, bank, or maybe even the gym for a workout.
Hearts and Hands is able to do this because of their large base of volunteer drivers.
These volunteer drivers are given background and drivers license checks and then undergo a 90-minute training.
After that, it’s pretty much like Uber for Seniors: drivers use their own cars, but can select their schedules and what shifts they might like to pick up.
Hearts and Hands provides a $0.40 per $1.00 reimbursement for gas, but volunteer coordinator Eugene Abrahamson says only about 50% of their volunteers actually request that.
The rest drive because it helps to get them out of the house or combat looniness or even just because it’s a way to make friends.
The organization has a waiting list of 200 people right now that grows every day, so it is looking for more volunteers willing to drive to the suburban and rural corners of Erie County in order to help care receivers go about their daily lives.
Here is a link to more information.