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  • 4,458 miles and 100+ trips later, Santa Barbara County seniors now vaccinated in free rides program

    (Santa Barbara County, CA)// - On Monday, mission::vaccinate came to a close with the organizing nonprofit, Community Partners in Caring, declaring mission::accomplished! 

    Since early April, Community Partners in Caring volunteers offered free rides to any senior aged 62+ or anyone aged 18+ with mobility issues to get to their vaccination appointment for free.

    “By all measures, it was a major success,” said Kaley Wise, Community Partners in Caring’s Outreach Coordinator. “We had so many seniors contacting us telling us that this service was a real lifesaver.”

    Through mission::vaccinate, over 40 Community Partners in Caring volunteers drove 4,458 miles in all to get seniors who lacked access to transportation to their COVID vaccine appointment. Trips were provided for free. 

    “Without Community Partners in Caring, I don’t know what I would do,” said Daniel, an 84-year-old Lompoc native who took advantage of the mission::vaccinate program to get his vaccine. “Now I can see my family again! I am so thankful for Community Partners in Caring.”  

    More than 100 trips were logged with Community Partners in Caring staff who coordinated the service. Client and volunteer feedback about the value of the mission::vaccinate program can be viewed here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G7ugF5BYLwI&feature=youtu.be

    It wasn’t just the riders who benefitted from mission::vaccinate. John Tarabini saw the call for mission::vaccinate volunteers in April and signed up. “I got to hear all about family, life experiences, and it was very interesting. The whole volunteer process was quite easy and enjoyable!”

    Though mission::vaccinate is now technically mission::accomplished!, the program’s fundamental mission – to get those aged 62+ where they need to be, for free – continues. “Though over a hundred trips were made for vaccination appointments, more than 480 were made for other medical and health related reasons,” said Vilma Contreras, Community Partners in Caring’s Executive Director. “It reinforces the reason we exist – to help remove barriers and help people get the support and care they need when they need it.”  Seniors in need of rides can contact Community Partners in Caring at 805-925-8000 to arrange for free rides to medical visits, vaccine appointments, or other area transportation needs. 

    “I was able to get a ride to my vaccine,” said 71-year-old Cheryll. “Community Partners in Caring has given me the freedom to be more social. They are a godsend!” 

    In addition to offering rides in response to the COVID pandemic, Community Partners in Caring also offers an array of other free services to area seniors, including grocery pick-up and delivery, free food delivery, senior programming enrollment, rides to medical appointments, and friendly calls made by volunteers to break up the day and reduce isolation. 

    “Community Partners in Caring is driven on volunteer power,” said Contreras. “Our volunteers are the heart and soul of this agency. Together, we ensure our area seniors have access to basic needs, such as food and flexible transportation that accommodates to their needs.”

    Those interested in learning more about becoming a volunteer with Community Partners in Caring can visit www.partnersincaring.org/volunteer or contact 805-925-8000 or volunteer@partnersincaring.org