With Emo’s annual Spring Fever Days events in full gear on Saturday, local MPP Howard Hampton and Brian Kahler, a volunteer with the Ontario Trillium Foundation, assisted in unveiling the new district handi-transit van.
“The volunteers’ hard work and perseverance made the dreams become a reality,” Kahler told the small group of people gathered on Front Street for the ceremony.
“As a result, 50-60 residents will be able to participate in community events and keep important medical appointments,” he noted.
Kahler also thanked everyone who helped Trillium build a healthy, more vibrant community.
The Ontario Trillium Foundation provided a $45,000 grant towards the purchase of the nearly $80,000 vehicle while the municipalities of Emo, La Vallee, Chapple, and Morley also kicked in some of the funding.
Emo Meals on Wheels, which took on the endeavour of acquiring the new handi-van, contributed an additional $20,000, which it had raised partially through lottery ticket sales and generous donations.
The new handi-van, which seats 12 people (10 seats and space for two wheelchairs), was welcomed in Emo back in February and began operating later that month.
It ensures residents of the surrounding communities will receive warm, nourishing meals, as well as give seniors and the disabled a safe, reliable mode of transportation.
Currently, more than 50 volunteers are donating 2,000 hours of their time to help their community.
“It’s a real health care service and it’s important to see your own money coming home,” noted Hampton, stressing people should keep buying lottery tickets because some of the money raised supports this service.
“You may not have won the lottery, but you won a new van for Meals on Wheels,” he remarked.
Chapple Coun. Peter Van Heyst said the four municipalities are pleased to be part of this effort.
“We couldn’t buy a new van without our partners,” agreed Emo Reeve Russ Fortier. “We’re very pleased to have it in our community.”
If anyone is looking to use this service, call driver Kim Lauzon at 487-9914 or 275-8783.
A 24-hour notice is required.
In related news, the handi-van committee is hosting a fundraising dinner, variety show, and auction on June 10 beginning at 5:30 p.m. at the Emo Legion.
Tickets cost $25 each, with proceeds going towards the upkeep and maintenance of the new vehicle.
The committee is looking for sponsors to donate cash or items for the auction.
For more info, call Vic Alberts (486-3389), Mollie Crozier (486-0474), or Freeda Carmody (486-3338).