Non-profit group helps give senior citizens a ride around town

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211 is the number for United Way, which partners with organizations across the Houston area to help seniors get a ride. (KTRK)

A three-digit number that you can dial right on your phone helps senior citizens in need of transportation. The number is 211, and it's the number for United Way. United Way partners with organizations across the Houston area to help seniors get a ride.

One of the charities they work with is Senior Rides and More. Over two decades ago Annette Bisanz worked as a nurse and saw first-hand how much assistance the elderly needed, and she wanted to help.

"So, we decided, let's call together a bunch of people in the area and see if the community is behind this," says Bisanz.

They were, and she co-founded the newly named Senior Rides and More. Now retired, she remains on the board and works as a volunteer.

"It's the best part of the job!" says Bisanz of her time volunteering.

Senior Rides and More provides free rides to senior citizens in southwest and northwest Houston, as long as the care receiver is in a specific ZIP code and is not in a wheelchair.

"Unfortunately, because we use volunteers, and volunteers use their own cars, we cannot transport those who are wheelchair bound. It's just too difficult," explains Debby Posso, the Executive Director of Senior Rides and More.

The organization receives referrals from churches, hospitals, and "United Way refers their callers looking for transportation to our organization," adds Posso.

Care receivers go through an application process, and volunteers do, too. Training, a background check, a current driver's license and insurance are all part of the screening. Plus, the organization provides a supplemental insurance policy just in case.

"Nothing has ever happened in 21 years," adds Posso.

Currently, they help 300 seniors, and while there are 85 volunteers, only 20 of them are active.

"We are always in need of volunteers. If we don't have a volunteer, we cannot help the seniors in our community," explains Posso.

Volunteering is an act that not only impacts the senior citizens, Bisanz says it also impacts the care givers.

"It's the love of my life being able to help these elderly people. There's nothing like helping other people," says Bisanz.

For more on Senior Rides and More, visit the organization's website: www.vic-sw.org

A list of other organizations that provide transportation and work with United Way:

American Red Cross Greater Houston Area Chapter
Transportation for Seniors
Offers a transportation service for low-income, elderly and medically needy individuals.
Requires referral from physician or agency social worker for an appointment with a Transport Coordinator.
Mon - Fri 7:00am - 6:00pm
713-313-1631

Metropolitan Transit Authority
METROLift
METROLift provides transportation for persons with a disability who cannot board, ride or disembark from a regular METRO fixed-route bus, even if that bus is equipped with a wheelchair lift or ramp.
Mon - Fri 8:00am - 5:00pm
713-225-0119

Harris County Precinct 2
Voucher Program
Provides door-to-door transportation from approved providers to medical appointments, social service appointments, essential care appointments, and essential shopping. Must be 60 years or older or be disabled. Also, must reside outside the METRO service area and unable to access alternate transportation.
Mon - Fri 8:00am - 5:00pm
713-755-6220

Harris County Community Services Department

RIDES Transit Services
Subsidized non-emergency transportation program providing curb-to-curb service to the elderly or disabled residents of Harris County that live outside of the Metro service area and are unable to access alternate transportation services.
Mon - Fri 8:00am - 5:00pm
Vernon Chambers - 713-578-2204
Main program line: 713-368-7433

Helping Elderly Residents Out H.E.R.O.
Provides transportation and referral services to older adults who reside in 77080, 77079, 77043, 77055, and 77024.
Mon - Fri 9:00am - 12:00pm
713-932-3996

Volunteer Interfaith Caregivers - Southwest
Provides free one-on-one assistance to frail and elderly residents in Southwest Houston through a network of volunteers, offering transportation to medical appointments, prescription pick up, grocery shopping, religious services or running errands. Persons must be at least 65 years of age, live and travel within the 28 zip code areas serviced by the agency and have a frailty that prevents their driving. No wheelchair or emergency transportation. Care receiver must be able to get in and out of vehicles unassisted.
Mon - Fri 9:00am - 3:30pm (intake)
713-772-8181

Northwest Assistance Ministries
Senior Wheels Program
Provides volunteer services to people age 55 and older who need transportation to medical appointments, grocery and drug stores, and shopping in northwest Houston. Clients pay a nominal fee which is adjusted or waived if the client cannot afford to pay. Must reside in the following zip codes: 77014, 77066, 77067, 77068, 77069, 77090, 77379, 77388, 77389.
Mon - Thu 8:00am - 5:00pm
281-885-4600

Aging & Disability Resource Center
Care Connections - ROADIE Program (Rides for Older Adults & People with Disabilities)
Persons 65 and older or anyone with a disability who lives and travels within Harris County.
Mon - Fri 8:00am - 5:00pm
877-393-1090
City of Baytown
Community Development Transportation Program
Serves older adults and people with disabilities within the city limits of Baytown. Non-emergency transportation services within the city limits of Baytown and to/from Houston for medical appointments only.
Mon - Fri 8:00am - 5:00pm
281-420-5390

The Friendship Center
Transportation is provided by 9 regularly scheduled vans for trips to the doctor, dentist, courthouse, post office, utility companies, recreation centers, or personal shopping Monday - Friday throughout Montgomery County. A 48-hour notice is needed to permit efficient routing. Cab service is also used for overflow.
Mon - Fri 8:00am - 5:00pm
936-756-5828

Interfaith of the Woodlands
Senior Services
Provides transportation for seniors by trained volunteers for medical appointments and grocery store visits. Must reside in zip codes 77384, 77382, 77386, 77383, 77380, 77385 in Montgomery County.
Mon - Fri 8:00am - 5:00pm
281-367-1230

Actions, Inc. of Brazoria County (Pearland Senior Center)
Volunteer Program
Provides volunteer opportunities in the area of senior transportation, senior socializing, administrative assistance with mail-outs and fundraising.
Mon - Fri 7:30am - 4:30pm
979-849-6132

Chambers County Senior Citizens Project
Transportation is provided to seniors for doctor visits, bill payment and shopping.
Mon - Fri 8:30am - 2:00pm
409-267-3242

West Galveston County Interfaith Caring Ministries
Provides a bus equipped with a wheelchair lift for transportation to hospitals, clinics, doctor's appointments and other health, nutritional or social destinations within the Hitchcock/Santa Fe school districts.
Mon - Fri 7:00am - 5:00pm
409-925-4697

Indirect Transportation Providers: (available to persons who are already receiving services at the agency and not available to the general public)

Neighborhood Centers
Senior Services/Multi-Service Center Programs
Provides a continuum of center-based services in support of independent living for seniors at multiple locations. Seniors provided with a daily hot nutritious meal, nutrition and health education, primary health screening, information and referrals and social/recreational activities. Transportation from home to the center and back in needed in conjunction with the meal.
Center hours vary by location.
Rene Solis - 713.669.5304 (Vice-President, Public Sector Solutions)

Fort Bend Seniors Meals on Wheels
Tri-City Senior Center
Provides a hot noon meal five meals a day week in a congregate setting. The meal fulfills 1/3 of the daily required nutrients for the elderly. Transportation available to and from senior center.
Mon - Fri 9:00am - 1:00pm
281-499-2616 (senior center number)
283-633-7049 (agency main line)

Galveston County Department of Parks and Senior Services
Pearland Senior Center
Transportation services are provided to and from participants' homes to the seven senior center locations to enjoy lunch and socialization.
Mon - Fri 9:00am - 3:00pm
281-482-8441 (program location)
409-934-8100 (agency main line)

Cleveland Senior Citizens Center
Provides congregate meals, home-delivered meals, legal assistance and transportation to Cleveland area seniors.
Mon - Fri 7:00am - 2:00pm
281-592-1174

Senior Center of Walker County
Provides a senior center vehicle to pick up clients from their homes and bring them to the center daily. Limited transportation to doctors, stores, banks and other locations for seniors that come to the senior center only.
Mon - Thurs 7:00am - 3:30pm; Fri 7:00am - 2:00pm
936-295-6151

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