senior

Stettler Handi-bus is putting out the call for more community support

Medical van for out of town trips hasn’t been running since Jan. 1st, 2021

Stettler & District Handi-bus is putting out the call for increased community support to meet demand for services.

As of the start of this year, the organization had to withdraw their service of transporting folks to medical appointments outside of Stettler via the use of their medical van, said Judy McKnight, program coordinator with the Stettler & District Handi-bus Society.

And as McKnight emphasized, the registered non-profit society depends on donations to operate.

“The Handi-bus board had made a decision that on January 1st, 2021 that we would be discontinuing our medical van service for out-of-town trips,” she explained.

“We now just have our big bus running in town.”

The medical van had been in service since 2008.

“That decision was made after close scrutiny of our medical van program and budget. For many years that we have run this program, we have not been able to obtain any extra funding,” she added. “We are now unable to cover all of our unrelated expenses to break even.

“So we haven’t been able to run the van this year.”

But that doesn’t mean that demand for use of the medical van has diminished.

“There are a lot of seniors who have relied on us before,” she said. “I’ve had calls about it, and unfortunately I have to tell them that we can’t help them. And I don’t know of any other service like this in Stettler that has a wheelchair accessible vehicle,” she said.

“It makes it tough for some people right now, especially with COVID-19 and people having to go to Red Deer for their vaccinations,” she said.

As mentioned, Stettler & District Handi-bus relies on the generosity of the community to continue to serve. McKnight said they are also applying for various government grants as well.

“We had an emergency board meeting the other night and we are trying to get it out there to people that the government doesn’t give us money,” she said.

“We go to the Town of Stettler each year and ask for money, and they are giving us $25,000 this year,” she said. “They’ve been doing that for a few years now.”

The County typically does provide some funding as well, but the organization hasn’t heard yet this year if that will be the case, she said.

“We rely on our passenger fares and donations, and Superfluity of course who are also very generous,” she said.

The Province does not provide any funding at all.

And organizations such as FCSS aren’t able to provide transportation funding towards operation of the Handi-bus as part of their provincial mandate.

Because Handi-bus shares the FCSS office, people also sometimes assume they are at least partly funded by FCSS as well – which is not the case.

McKnight also mentioned that many people around the community don’t know that the service is even up and running.

“A lot of people also didn’t realize that we had our medical van which we used to take people to those medical appointments out of town,” she added.

For more information, or to help out financially, call the local office at 403-742-5858 or email info@stettlerhandibus.com.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Nineteen-year-old Amanda enjoys a ride during a visit to Spirit’s Respite Ranch near Stettler. photo submitted
Busy days at Spirit’s Respite Ranch near Stettler

The ranch, which launched operations last summer, provides support through animal interaction

Alberta chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw said on Thursday that the province has seen its first case of the B.1.617 variant. (Photography by Chris Schwarz/Government of Alberta)
Red Deer nears record number of active COVID-19 cases

Alberta reports 1,857 new cases of COVID-19, 1,326 new variants

People line up outside an immunization clinic to get their Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine in Edmonton, Tuesday, April 20, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta passes bill to give all workers paid leave to get COVID-19 vaccine shot

Labour Minister Jason Copping says Bill 71 will reduce barriers for Alberta workers to get vaccinated

Stettler County
County of Stettler meeting highlights

County of Stettler council was presented with six separate bylaws at varying stages of progress

Alberta completed 18,412 COVID-19 tests, as reported on Wednesday, for a test positivity rate of 9.5 per cent. (NIAID-RML via AP)
Highest daily count of 2021 so far: Alberta reports 1,699 COVID-19 cases

Variants now make up 59 per cent of Alberta’s active cases

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and United States President Joe Biden smile as they say farewell following a virtual joint statement in Ottawa, Tuesday, February 23, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Trudeau pledges to cut emissions by 40% to 45% by 2030, short of U.S. goal

Trudeau announced target during a virtual climate summit convened by U.S. President Joe Biden

A health care worker prepares to test a Coastal GasLink field worker for COVID-19. (Coastal GasLink photo)
Alberta bill would protect health workers, care homes from some COVID-19 lawsuits

The bill proposes exempting a range of workers, including doctors, pharmacists and care-home operators, from being sued over COVID-19 unless it was for gross negligence

Journal de Montreal is seen in Montreal, on Thursday, April 22, 2021. The daily newspaper uses a file picture of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau dressed in traditional Indian clothing during his trip to India to illustrate a story on the Indian variant of the coronavirus. Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press
Montreal newspaper blasted for front-page photo of Trudeau in India

Trudeau is wearing traditional Indian clothes and holding his hands together in prayer beside a caption that reads, ‘The Indian variant has arrived’

Education Minister Adriana LaGrange was in Red Deer on Friday to provide an update on the province's COVID-19 response in schools.
Photo by PAUL COWLEY/Advocate staff
Alberta government aiming to boost financial literacy among students

Government providing grants to organizations who will help design financial literacy programming

President Joe Biden holds a virtual bilateral meeting with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
U.S. to help Canada with more COVID-19 vaccine supply, Biden says

The U.S. has already provided Canada with about 1.5 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine

In this image from video, former Minneapolis police Officer Derek Chauvin, center, is taken into custody as his attorney, Eric Nelson, left, looks on, after the verdicts were read at Chauvin’s trial for the 2020 death of George Floyd, Tuesday, April 20, 2021, at the Hennepin County Courthouse in Minneapolis, Minn. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Court TV via AP, Pool
George Floyd’s death was ‘wake-up call’ about systemic racism: Trudeau

Derek Chauvin was found guilty Tuesday on all three charges against him

FILE - Dan Smyers, left, and Shay Mooney from the band Dan + Shay perform on NBC's Today show in New York on June 28, 2019. The duo will perform at Sunday's Academy of Country Music Awards. (Photo by Charles Sykes/Invision/AP, File)
Luke Bryan wins top ACM Award, but female acts own the night

Luke Bryan wins top ACM Award, but female acts own the night

In this undated photo provided by John-Paul Hodnett are a row of teeth on the lower jaw of a 300-million-year-old shark species named this week following a nearly complete skeleton of the species in 2013 in New Mexico. Discoverer Hodnett says it was the short, squat teeth that first alerted him to the possibility that the specimen initially dubbed "Godzilla Shark" could be a species distinct from it's ancient cousins, which have longer, more spear-like teeth. The image was taken using angled light techniques that reveal fossil features underneath sediment. (John-Paul Hodnett via AP)
‘Godzilla’ shark discovered in New Mexico gets formal name

The ancient chompers looked less like the spear-like rows of teeth of related species

Most Read