NEW ALBANY — LifeSpan Resources’ fuel costs doubled this summer compared to last year, with the New Albany-based nonprofit providing transportation services to community members in need.
The Duke Energy Foundation is giving the nonprofit an $11,000 grant for its “Rides to Go!” program. Ramona Miller, director of nutrition and transportation for LifeSpan Resources, said the grant will cover one month’s worth of fuel.
Lisa Brones Huber, government and community relations manager for Duke Energy in southern Indiana, said the foundation was proud to support LifeSpan Resources with the grant.
“We know they have rising costs and we are happy to help fund their transportation needs,” she said. “We just want to make sure they’re able to continue the great mission they’re doing in making sure these seniors get out there and get to their appointments, whether it’s the doctor, the mental health, social visits – it is very important to support older people in whatever their needs. »
The nonprofit organization provides transportation Monday through Friday for Floyd, Clark, Harrison, and Scott counties. It provided nearly 20,000 rides last fiscal year for nearly 500 customers, and 12 vehicles are on the road throughout the day, Miller said.
Some vehicles travel 200 miles a day, so high gas prices add up, she said.
“We had to increase our credit limit with our gas cards for our vehicles because they said you were really getting close to your maximum,” Miller said.
LifeSpan Resources offers rides to medical appointments, whether for dialysis, cancer treatment or hospital tests. Customers are also driven to grocery stores, banks, restaurants and nursing homes to visit family members, according to Miller.
The nonprofit organization offers services to Medicaid patients, as well as private payment for transportation services. Seniors and residents with disabilities are among the program’s clients.
John Ritchey, a resident of Providence Assisted Living Center in New Albany, is one of the “Rides to Go!” clients. He is transported three times a week to and from his dialysis appointments.
John’s son, David Ritchey, said the program was a big help for the family. His dad has to be at his dialysis appointments at 6 a.m., and David was driving him around before they started using the “Rides to Go!” program.
Her father is in a wheelchair and LifeSpan Resources offers wheelchair accessible vehicles with ramps.
Lora Clark, CEO of LifeSpan Resources, said she was “so grateful” for the Duke Energy Foundation’s support, noting that access to transportation is one of the community’s greatest needs.
“People just don’t have transportation to get things that are basic human needs – food, water and medicine and things like that – so it’s just a huge plus for the community,” she said.
Melissa Richardson, director of development at LifeSpan Resources, said it was “difficult to maintain our positive levels in our budgets when fuel is up 100% over the past few months.”
“We don’t want to have to reduce our travel at all for any of our patients and clients, so that will go a long way to being able to continue and maintain all of that travel,” she said.