Community Partners in Caring Launched miles of SMILES—Free rides so that seniors can access basic needs such as medical appointments and the grocery store
Community Partners in Caring is stepping up to solve a growing concern throughout the community—homebound seniors lacking access to things as basic as food and medical care, things they need to survive. In order to accomplish their mission they need your help.
Community Partners in Caring urgently needs volunteer drivers to provide these life-saving rides to seniors. Imagine for a moment that you have nobody to help you get to the grocery store, no way to get to a medical appointment. All of the things that are essential to your wellbeing, you no longer have access to. One hour out of your day, your month, or your year has the power to help change the trajectory of an isolated senior’s life, forever.
Volunteers will receive mileage reimbursements. To sign up as a volunteer driver for miles of Smiles, go to www.partnersincaring.org/volunteer or contact Community Partners in Caring at email@example.com or 805-925-8000. New volunteers go through an on-boarding and orientation process that takes one to two weeks and includes COVID-19 safety protocols and sanitation training.
Help is just one call away, and this program will cost participating seniors nothing. To be eligible for a miles of Smiles ride, people must be at least 62 years of age, unable to drive, and must be able to walk without the assistance of their driver. Canes and walkers will be placed in the vehicle during the ride.
“Homebound dependent seniors have always faced challenges to sustain daily living,” said Vilma Contreras, Community Partners in Caring’s Executive Director. “We are calling upon the community to step up and help these seniors access basic needs. We want nothing to stand in the way of a senior in need getting to their doctor’s appointment or to a grocery store so they can have a warm meal for dinner.”
Those eligible in Santa Barbara County who are interested in a free ride must call the Community in Partners in Caring office at 805-925-8000 for staff to arrange their ride (and ensure they are in a region of the county served by this program). Two-day advance notice is required. Drivers and passengers must wear a face mask and follow COVID safety protocols at all times.
“The simple act of driving your car can support seniors across the County, and you will literally help save lives,” points out Chuen Ng, Community Partners in Caring’s Board President. “An hour a week – or even a month – can make a life-saving difference to the senior in your car seat.”
In addition to launching Miles of Smiles, Community Partners in Caring’s volunteers also offer an array of other free helpful programs to area seniors, including grocery pick-up/delivery, free food delivery, senior programming enrollment, rides to medical appointments, and “friendly calls” or visits to break up the day and reduce senior isolation. Tax-deductible donations to support this important work can be made by mail or directly through their website.