Although ITNGateway has served St. Charles County for nearly nine years, ridership in Wentzville has seen a dramatic increase since the Wentzville Board of Aldermen passed a resolution on July 25, 2017 to reimburse seniors the $50 membership and account set-up fee after they take just three rides with ITNGateway.
“The support of this program by the Mayor and Alderman Brian Harr has been tremendous and has really helped boost our ridership in Wentzville as the good news continues to get out,” said Susan Kallash-Bailey, ITNGateway’s Executive Director. “It’s filling a gap for services and is so important for the health and well-being of this population” she said.
Since the partnership began, ridership has increased by 40 percent over the same time last year and while that’s great news, it also means the service needs more volunteer drivers to meet the growing demand. The unique business model, which is part of the national program ITNAmerica, is based on utilizing volunteer drivers.
“We have a growing base of volunteer drivers in the Wentzville area, but as the service grows here, we run the risk of not having enough volunteers to meet the demand,” said Kallash-Bailey. “That is why we want to show everyone that even people as busy as the Mayor and Chief of Police can find the time to provide a ride to help someone in their community.”
Unlike other services, ITNGateway offer customers dignified arm-through-arm, door-through-door service and passengers are transported anywhere they want to go 24/7. The service is more affordable than other means available and is not just limited to medical and grocery trips, with scheduling available just 24 hours in advance. Thoroughly vetted volunteers use their own vehicle to take neighbors to work, shop, banking and beauty appointments and to visit friends and family.
ITNGateway passenger Betty Couture is a resident at Twin Oaks in Wentzville and utilizes the service to do her banking, attend medical appointments and shop. Recently, Betty got a ride from celebrity drivers Mayor Nick Guccione and Police Chief Kurt Frisz to shop at Kohl’s.
“I am so appreciative of this service and enjoy getting to meet all the drivers who treat me just like a friend,” Betty said. “It’s almost like having my own car again.”
Not only does this service make for safer roads for everyone, but it relieves the need for family and friends to be available, as they are often working or don’t live nearby. It is suggested that volunteers agree to commit to a minimum of three hours per month.
For more information on how you can volunteer to make a difference in the life of an older adult call 636-329-0888 or visit itngateway.org/volunteer.