(PHOTO: Driver Greg Bungay and volunteer Pamela Brown with the ROSSS Gateway to Groceries bus.)
On a recent sunny and frigid Friday morning the ROSSS (Rural Ottawa South Support Services) bus arrived at my home exactly at the agreed time of 9:05 am. I was greeted by the friendly driver Greg Bungay and volunteer Pamela Brown. Pam, a Richmond resident, has been volunteering on the bus since its inception.
And so our drive began with our first pickup at Hyde Park where John was assisted into his seat. Then to the Richmond Lodge where Marie and Fred were helped on board. Next to a Fortune St. address where Miki was assisted on and finally to the Goodwood Apts. where Chet was patiently waiting to board. Normally there would be one or two more riders but today we had five very appreciative clients.
So with everyone buckled up and walking canes tucked away we were off. Our first stop was to the Scotiabank, as one needs money for purchases, and then to King’s Independent. Along the way introductions, handshakes and interesting conversations were exchanged. Eventually all the necessary groceries and other essential items (lotto tickets!) were purchased, bagged and loaded onto the bus for the return trip home.
Once home again, I realized how valuable a service the bus offers. Not only as a means to acquire essential needs, but also an opportunity for the clients to enjoy a rare outing with conversation and interaction. Coupled with Pam’s helping hand to assist the riders where needed or simply to say, “good morning John, how are you feeling today?”.
The special touch of a volunteer can never be overstated but unfortunately there are never enough. When Pam is unable to work her shift the whole burden falls on Greg’s shoulders. There is a need for one or two more alternate volunteers to step in for Pam when she is unable to work. Hopefully someone will step up to offer a hand!
(Gateway to Groceries is a free home pickup/return service for seniors and adults in Richmond with physical disabilities who require transportation to the grocery store and other essential services in Richmond. For more information call 613-692-4697. )