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Mayor Richard Kos along with Chicopee Council on Aging Executive Director Sherry Manyak, Council on Aging Chair Claire Gemme and Vice-Chair Susan Tawrel are pleased to announce that the Council on Aging has received a $10,000 grant from WestMass ElderCare that will allow the senior center to expand its transportation offerings. Tuesday evening, City Council approved an order to accept the grant.
Beginning October 2, 2017, the Transportation Department at RiverMills Center will add specialized trips to its transportation options. Van service to shopping and grocery stores on Memorial Drive will be offered on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. The vans will be making stops at Big Y, Stop & Shop, Job Lot and Walmart. In addition, rides to pharmacies and banks will be added to the already in-demand daily ride schedule.
The Transportation Department will continue to offer rides to the doctor, dentist, hairdresser and RiverMills Center, located at 5 West Main St. The Council on Aging currently provides approximately 10,000 rides per year to Chicopee residents, age 60 and older who do not have their own transportation option. The grant money will allow the Transportation Department to pay a stipend to the van drivers.
“For years there has been a demand for shopping trips, and now we can offer this added transportation service to the city’s older adult population,” Council on Aging Executive Director Sherry Manyak said. “We thank WestMass ElderCare for approving this grant. The Council on Aging has a long history of collaborating with WestMass ElderCare and their continued support of our mission is truly appreciated.”
“Congratulations to the Council on Aging on receiving this grant which will enable them to expand their services to our elders,” said Mayor Kos.
“We are very happy and grateful for receiving this grant. Working with our transportation department, we hope to expand services for our seniors to include trips to banks and department stores by updating our fleet,” said Council on Aging Chairperson Claire Gemme. “This money will help us towards our goal of the purchase of a van. It will certainly be put to good use.”
“This grant is another example of how our director is working very hard to offer positive experiences to our seniors,” said Council on Aging Vice-Chairperson Susan Tawrel. “The director, along with our transportation coordinators, thought that there was a need to expand our services to include transporting our seniors to banks and stores. This grant will enable our seniors to be more independent by doing their own banking, buying groceries and clothing, or other household needs.”
The grant commits funding in the amount of $5,000 annually for two years. It is contingent on anticipated federal allocation from the state Executive Office of Elder Affairs.