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Monday, Mar. 2, 2015

Volunteer drivers take county residents more places

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

A volunteer driver for Plymouth County Senior Helpmates will take someone to Omaha, Neb. today (Tuesday).

The new destination is a result of changes in the program to provide transportation to county residents 62 years old or older, according to Cheryl Palmer, Plymouth County Senior Helpmates director.

People who arrange for rides through Plymouth County Senior Helpmates are not charged for the service offered by volunteer drivers.

Plymouth County Senior Helpmates is the newly organized 501(c)3 non-profit organization able to offer a tax deduction for donations for the program.

The change was completed in May.

"It means we are able to accept donations -- we were able to accept grant money that we had been awarded so we could keep our doors open and keep running," Palmer said.

The group applied for the non-profit designation after a relationship between Plymouth County Senior Helpmate and a Sioux City group ended this spring.

Another change is the number of days the service is available, Palmer said.

"With a couple of new drivers, we're running seven days a week with seven volunteer drivers," she said.

The drivers receive a slight reimbursement of about 35 cents a mile to cover the cost of gasoline, Palmer explained.

June marked the first month of operation for Plymouth County Senior Helpmates with 14 rides offered, she said.

"We're heading close to 20 for rides in July," Palmer said.

There was also a slight change in the name with the re-organization of the transportation service.

The letter "s" was added to the final word of the name, said Ruth Postma of Le Mars. Postma is secretary for Plymouth County Senior Helpmates Board.

As a board member for Plymouth County Senior Helpmates, Postma said she knew the services were greatly needed.

"It's a good service for our county and there are people that really do need our service," Postma said. "I feel like we have a very good organization set up."

There are some new clients getting rides to doctors appointments, the grocery store and other places older persons need to get to but can't without a means of transportation, Palmer said.

"We are taking senior citizens wherever they need to go, basically," Palmer explained.

There have also been more rides to Sioux Falls, S.D., for appointments, she said.

Older Plymouth County residents arrange rides by calling Palmer at 546-8946.

Postma said the volunteer board is work slowly to make sure everything is done right.

"I just think we're going to have a great organization," she said.

Anyone may donate to the Plymouth County Senior Helpmates program by contacting Palmer at 546-8946 or Jim Thelen, of Le Mars at 546-6951.

"The board members and I would like to thank the community for all of its help getting us to where we're up and running again," Palmer said.

Plymouth County residents have another option for transportation services through the Siouxland Regional Transit System (SRTS) van service in Plymouth County.

A fee is charged for SRTS trips which may be arranged by calling 800-881-2076.



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