Each weekday morning, WNCSource transports over a dozen older adults, who no longer drive or lack a vehicle, to the Council on Aging’s congregate meal program. Ken Siegler, a driver for WNCSource Transportation allowed me to ride along on the Senior Lunch & Light Shopping route. The route runs each weekday with the first pick-up scheduled for 9AM. Sure enough, when we pulled up to Betty P’s house, she was outside and ready to go! Betty is 93 years young and lives alone with two cats – Mr. Bean and Lady Gaga. She was married for 65 years and has seven sons. Shoulder problems and other mobility issues keep her from driving. But she looks forward to getting out each morning to go to the senior congregate meal program and meet up with friends. Betty explained, “If it wasn’t for this service, I’d be stuck at home all day.”
At our next stop, 86 year-old Sandra D. was waiting. Sandra has a pacemaker and no longer drives due to her declining eyesight. Her electric wheelchair slowly moved over the rock driveway and onto the lift platform. As Ken tethered her chair to the safety clips and raised her into the vehicle, she smiled and thanked him. As we rode along, Sandra told me that she has four grown children and was living with her son who works during the day. “I get lonesome staying at home by myself and ride to lunch 3 to 4 days a week. The bus drivers are so helpful and are very careful. It’s a wonderful service that lets me get out to be with people!”
Our next passenger pick-up was just a few minutes away. Lou is 77 years young and no longer drives. After her husband passed in 2015, she moved to Hendersonville from the eastern part of the state to be closer to her son. Someone in her church told her about the transportation program. As we rode along, Lou told me how much the Senior Lunch & Light Shopping transportation program meant to her. “It’s a wonderful service that helps me get out to lunch, do shopping, and go to the beauty shop! The staff is so friendly and it’s easy to schedule a ride. I wouldn’t be able to get out of the house without the bus.”
In addition to the popular Senior Lunch & Light Shopping program, WNCSource offers other community transportation services in Henderson County including Same Day / Next Day Medical Trips, Shopping / Grocery Routes and Rural General Public transit routes that connect county residents (of all ages!) who lack access to transportation to community resources. In addition, WNCSource is a Healthy Opportunities Pilot Partner for Impact Health and provides transportation to community destinations for Medicaid-eligible individuals and families.
Our transportation programs are available and provided free of charge with the help of grants and private donations. If you or someone you know would benefit from our community transportation services in Henderson County, call (828) 698-8571.