Monadnock Ledger-Transcript – How a Non-Profit Organization is Addressing the Transportation Needs of the Monadnock Area

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Living in rural New Hampshire requires car dependence, as public transportation infrastructure is non-existent in most communities. Lack of transportation is a known barrier to accessing health care and food resources, contributing to poorer overall health outcomes.

Both hospitals in the Monadnock area, Monadnock Community Hospital and Cheshire Medical Center, cite access to healthcare as a top priority in their most recent Community Health Needs Assessments (2018 and 2019, respectively). Lack of transport is also the second biggest barrier to food access for families with children in the Monadnock region, according to a 2021 report by the South West Region Planning Commission for the Monadnock Children’s Food Access Alliance. The report also listed the towns of Keene, Peterborough, Alstead, Sullivan and Swanzey as having the highest percentages of households without a vehicle.

Two non-profit organizations based in Keene – Home Healthcare, Hospice & Community Services and the Keene Senior Center – include transportation within Keene as part of their services. However, there is only one local non-profit organization dedicated solely to addressing the unmet transportation needs of the 34 towns in the Monadnock area, and they need your support.

Since 2008, Community Volunteer Transportation Company has provided free transportation to Southwestern New Hampshire residents who cannot drive due to age, ability, economic status, or short-term circumstances through its volunteer transportation program. volunteer drivers. It’s a true neighbor-help organization, with volunteer drivers who donate their time and driving skills to those who don’t have access to transportation. They ensure that their fellow Granite Staters have access to food, healthcare, and other essential human services to enable them to maintain their well-being and independence.

In 2021, CVTC volunteer drivers collectively donated 4,470 hours and traveled 92,677 miles. The New Hampshire Department of Transportation values ​​the service of a volunteer at $18 per hour, bringing the value of CVTC volunteers to $80,460. For an organization with an annual operating budget of approximately $230,000, volunteer contributions are of tremendous value to the region.

In addition to the volunteer driver program, the CVTC contracts with van providers to coordinate free transportation for people whose mobility depends on a wheelchair. The people of the Monadnock area have the dignity of remaining independent without a vehicle thanks to the services provided by CVTC. Families, singles, young or less young, all the inhabitants of the region benefit from the CVTC service. Whether one is unable to drive due to short-term medical intervention, or just until they can afford to have their car repaired or their driver’s license reinstated, CVTC is here to help. to ensure that the lack of public transit does not interfere with the ability to live independently.

CVTC volunteer drivers positively impact the health and well-being of the region with every ride they provide to essential non-emergency medical and social appointments, groceries, food pantry, office post office, bank or pharmacy. In CVTC’s 2021 Impact Survey, the majority of cyclists said their health had improved, they ate healthier, they felt happier and less anxious, and they felt more connected to people since they were riding with the CVTC. Ninety percent of riders said they were able to maintain, regain, or achieve their independence.

As one biker said, “I don’t like asking my family members to take the day off to take me on a date. I am very grateful to the CVTC. I feel like I have regained some of my independence.

The CVTC has the greatest impact on the 25% of users who declare that the CVTC is their only means of transport.

At the same time, volunteer drivers also benefit from the CVTC. They report having an increased sense of community, are happier, more satisfied with life, feel more connected to others, and feel valued for their service.

A volunteer driver said, “It’s really rewarding to be able to help people who don’t have transportation or can’t drive. I met very nice and very interesting people. The runners appreciate the service very much. It gives me the opportunity to do something good for people and the community on an ongoing basis. The management team is very responsive. The system is very flexible and easy to use when looking to register for a trip, or enter trip data, etc.

Drivers are needed in all communities across Cheshire, and by joining CVTC’s team of volunteer drivers, you will help the organization reach its 2022 goal of having 75 active volunteer drivers. Since the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic, the total number of active volunteer drivers has increased from 88 volunteer drivers in 2019 to the current level of 48. The number of drivers over this same period has increased by 30%. About 8.5% of transport requests made from 2019 to 2021 were not met due to a lack of driver availability. Currently, only 12 of the 34 cities served have volunteers.

Support the CVTC by becoming a volunteer driver. Volunteer drivers go through a background check process and orientation from the program before they can access the CVTC ride database. After completing the selection process and training, volunteer drivers use CVTC’s online trip management software to select the trips that best fit their schedule and drive only when it suits them. Whether you have two hours a week to donate or 10, CVTC needs your help to ensure our neighbors have transportation to access health and social services that improve their independence and well-being. .

CVTC is a non-profit organization that depends on the generosity of patrons, donors and funders. Financial contributions from any denomination keep the CVTC ready and able to meet the region’s unmet transportation needs.

With a lack of public transit in our area, your support allows the CVTC to remain ready to serve all residents in need of access to food, health care and basic social services. Independence and self-care are two core qualities at Granite Staters, making it easy to support the work of the local nonprofit CVTC. Volunteer your time, donate and vote to support CVTC and its vision of “transportation for all”. Learn more about cvtc-nh.org.

Renee Sangermano is a Social Services major at Franklin Pierce University, Class of 2022, and Advancement Assistant with Community Volunteer Transportation Company (CVTC)

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