When Independence Inc. received a new van this winter through the Kansas Department of Transportation, the agency decided to donate one of their old vans to Lawrence Community Shelter. The nine-passenger Ford van is equipped with a lift so the shelter can now transport guests who use wheelchairs.
Now that the shelter has the van, they can take guests to their weekly appointments at Health Care Access Clinic, a service that has been provided by Independence Inc. as part of a United Way of Douglas County collaboration. In addition, the shelter can also begin to take guests to other appointments, like physical therapy, or to the pharmacy.
“This is a big deal for us,” said Andy Brown, director of development for Lawrence Community Shelter. “It will allow us to get people to follow-up appointments so medical outcomes will improve.”
If Independence Inc. had continued to provide the transportation for shelter guests in 2014 as part of the United Way collaboration, the organization would have needed to request $23,000 in funding from United Way to cover their expenses, said Jill Enyart, co-executive director of Independence Inc. Now, those funds are freed up to support new initiatives by United Way’s other community partners focused on the health community impact goal.
“It’s such a better use of resources,” Enyart said. “It’s really energizing to any organization when you see how it used to be done, then see there is a different way to look at it so that the dollars can go farther. The donation of the van would not have come about if we had not started working with the shelter in this capacity.”