Volunteers are vital to most non-profit organizations, providing support for administrative, fundraising and marketing functions, usually at no cost or on a pro bono basis.
This is certainly true for Call A Ride Southlake (CARS), which relies on volunteers for day-to-day operations. Founded in 2000, CARS is a not-for-profit, 501(c)(3) corporation with a purpose to provide free, non-emergency transportation to Southlake seniors and disabled adult citizens for medical, dental, social, business, shopping and personal needs.
In 2016, CARS volunteers provided more than 1500 rides, driving nearly 11,000 miles. According to CARS Executive Director Erik Phelps, there are more than 400 clients in their database who are eligible for rides, but currently only approximately 30 drivers.
“Volunteers are gasoline in the CARS engine. Without them, CARS doesn’t run,” said Phelps, noting a Volunteer Appreciation Dinner was held May 25 at The Marq Southlake.
CARS operates Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., and will transport within a 25 mile radius of Southlake (including Arlington, Fort Worth and Dallas) for most medical purposes, and within a seven mile radius of Southlake for other appointments.
Senior citizens and disabled adult persons who need or desire to utilize the CARS program must complete an application and interview. For a qualified rider to utilize the transportation program, riders must call CARS at least 72 hours in advance. A dispatcher will contact a volunteer driver to arrange transportation. The driver will then contact the rider to confirm the destination and pick-up time requested.
Likewise, all volunteer drivers must complete an application form and have an exemplary driving record. Volunteer drivers provide and maintain their own vehicles to participate in this program. And while users must reside in Southlake, drivers may live in other communities.
For more information about CARS or to make a tax-deductible donation, call 817-798-4022 or go to www.callaridesouthlake.org.