Yukon Compassionate Hands’ director Joanne Riley (left) and board members, from left, Jason Brunk, Alycia Barry and Jaquita Icenhower stand with the new Care-A-Van. Now in its 25th year, this faith-based ministry has doubled its accessible van fleet. (Photo by Conrad Dudderar)
By Conrad Dudderar
Senior Staff Writer
A second wheelchair-accessible van has allowed a faith-based Yukon ministry to deliver its services to a wider client base.
Compassionate Hands now operates two vans that take elderly and non-ambulatory residents and people with physical disabilities to medical appointments, physical therapy and dialysis, the grocery store, library, senior center, and some personal errands.
For 25 years, Compassionate Hands had one “Care-A-Van.” As the need for this service increased in recent years, the agency started seeking funds to double the fleet.
“Our Care-A-Van was driven 26,103 miles with 2,356 trips and 1,306 total passengers in 2018,” Compassionate Hands’ director Joanne Riley said. “That figured out to almost 200 trips each month.
“With this second van, we should add at least another 100 trips per month. We have the potential for up to five more trips each day.”
The second Care-A-Van, a wheelchair-accessible, six-passenger Dodge Caravan, arrived last month.
It’s been on Yukon streets for a couple weeks after being outfitted with signs that list contributors.
“Our sponsors are recognized on the van as it’s driven throughout the metro area,” Riley said.
Compassionate Hands was able to fund its second Care-A-Van through a federal Department of Transportation program administered by the Department of Human Services’ Aging Services division. This covered 80 percent of the van cost.
An $18,000 grant from the Carl C. Anderson Sr. and Marie Joe Anderson Charitable Foundation in Austin, Texas is being used for ongoing operations, specifically insurance, staffing, maintenance, and fuel.
Compassionate Hands needed to match this grant and ended up collecting some $30,000 through the generosity of businesses, individuals and churches. More than 100 separate donations were received to meet and far exceed the matching funds’ requirement.
NEW DRIVER, MORE TRIPS
Until just recently, the single Care-A-Van was booked constantly as the needs of aging Baby Boomers increased. At times, Compassionate Hands couldn’t fit people in the schedule because there were so many requests for the accessible van service.
“We’re now able to serve many more people after getting the new van and hiring new driver Bud Kuykendall and alternate driver Richard Roper,” Riley said.
A ministry of the Yukon Ministerial Alliance since 1994, Compassionate Hands served nearly 600 people in 2018.
Besides the van service, Compassionate Hands offers rent assistance, temporary lodging, utility bills, prescriptions, and gasoline cards for clients to go to and from work and medical appointments.
Compassionate Hands also provides personal items like diapers, baby wipes, shampoo, soap, toothpaste, toothbrushes, and personal hygiene products to those who need it.
Next fund-raiser for Compassionate Hands is an “all-you-can-eat” spaghetti dinner from 5:30-7 p.m. Saturday, June 22 at Yukon Masonic Lodge #90, 1201 E Main. Dinner tickets are $5 each or $20 for five.
The benefit pasta feed will feature a raffle for a $300 gift card. Raffle tickets are $5.
Call 354-9591 or visit www.compassionatehands.org to learn more.