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Future of district handi-van in jeopardy

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It was just two short years ago that the Emo “Meals on Wheels” group took on the task of spearheading the purchase of a new handi-van for the district.

The new vehicle, which was acquired that spring, partially was funded by the Township of Emo, as well as the municipalities of La Vallee, Chapple, and Morley.

Three dollars per capita was provided by the four municipalities totalling $10,578.

A $45,000 grant from the Ontario Trillium Foundation also assisted in the purchase of the $80,385 vehicle (including taxes), along with an additional $20,000 that had been saved by the Emo “Meals on Wheels” committee.

Since then, the handi-van has supplied a valuable service to many people in the district. It has been used, on a regular basis, to transport handicapped children from their home to school and back, as well as to take seniors on shopping trips to Fort Frances and to appointments at the Emo and Fort Frances clinics.

Since it was purchased, the handi-van has more than proven its worth to the citizens of the contributing municipalities.

Recently, however, the handi-van co-ordinator felt it necessary to resign from the position. As a result, the financial responsibility of operating the van has been taken over by the staff in the Emo municipal office.

Emo, Chapple, La Vallee, and Morley have partnered with Meals on Wheels, a not-for-profit corporation, over the past two years to continue the handi-van service in the district.

The committee in charge of the handi-van consists of members from the participating municipalities, who meet on a regular basis to plan for various fundraising events and to assist the co-ordinator in providing the service.

“We’ve advertised in the township newsletters for a new co-ordinator, but we haven’t heard from anyone yet,” noted Freeda Carmody, the Devlin representative on the committee.

“We’re hoping that someone will step forward soon,” she added.

The job of co-ordinator consists of doing the billing, setting up schedules in conjunction with the driver, and handling all the maintenance needs of the handi-van.

The service provided by the handi-van has become an absolute necessity for many district residents. But without a co-ordinator, the service just may be too difficult to operate.

To lose this valuable service would be a tragedy.

If you are willing to donate your time to this worthwhile cause, or you know of someone who would be a good co-ordinator, contact any member of the handi-van committee or call the Emo municipal office at 482-2378 as soon as possible.

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