My experience with Care-A-Van is what some may call “full circle”. Back in 2004, my neighbor (who was volunteering part-time for Care-A-Van) asked if I would be interested in temporarily helping out the Care-A-Van team. For about the next three months, I drove Valley residents to their doctor appointments, Walmart, and to their local churches. Without it, many of the residents we assisted would not have made it to these appointments. Care–A-Van also does a wonderful job of helping our residents get to church and other social outings so that they can stay connected to the community. It was such a blessing getting to know everyone that I transported! It reminded me how good it felt to have an active, helpful role in my community. I loved working with Care-a-Van, it is such a great program, and it has been benefiting our community for 16 years.
We never know where life takes us. Flash forward to September of 2011. I was in a car crash that left me in a wheelchair. When I was released from the hospital in February of 2012, I wasn’t able to drive myself to the necessary doctors and rehab appointments. That’s when Care-A-Van came to the rescue! By this time, they had a wheelchair accessible van and offered to help give me rides to and from my appointments. It was such a relief to find that there were caring people willing to assist me at no cost. Over the years I’ve also gotten to know many of the other volunteers and been involved with some of the fundraising events. We are truly committed to making sure Care–A-Van is able to continue to serve our community for many years to come.
Who is my neighbor?
Since moving to Western Douglas County four years ago I have grown so much, especially spiritually. I have to credit my community and my neighborhood for being friendly and accepting me, adopting me like family. Yes, God led me here but here is what I needed to hatch me out of my shell of self-involvement. I learned that I need you all and you need me too, not that I can't do for myself but that I need to belong. We all do. We need to be part of something greater than ourselves. I found Care-A-Van to be that vehicle for me, (unintended pun). I have met so many great people and have gained so much wisdom from them just by taking them to appointments. It's the drive time where I get to know them and hear experiences that not everyone gets to hear. It only take a few hours a week, and they are so grateful. Some even donate, though there is no cost for the service. Care-A-Van is a great opportunity for them because they cannot drive themselves and there are not many affordable options to get them where they need to go.
We are spread thin out here in Western Douglas County and the mileage on the vehicles is getting high, more repairs are needed, and our population is aging, increasing the number of people needing our services. I pray that if you have read this far, you will consider partnering with us financially or by volunteering your time and talents.
I volunteered to be a driver for CARE-A-VAN to take some of the burden off of the other volunteer drivers. I did not realize how much love I would receive from our passengers. They are always appreciative. I enjoy the smiles and love I feel from each rider. I now make a point to stop in to visit with our riders and others in the nursing home. CARE-A-VAN has helped me grow into a better person. Besides helping the believers in our area that had no other way to get to their home Churches but from them sharing their love and joy for life with me. It takes several trips Sunday Morning to get all the riders to their Church’s and we are hoping to be able to reach out to serve more of our neighbors.