Cheering teams of non-profit staff and volunteers filled the Community Transit Board room Thursday as the transit agency announced recipients of the 13th Van GO vehicle grant program.
Twelve local community organizations were awarded Community Transit vehicles that have reached the end of their service life at the agency. Together, 10 vehicles will provide 45,000 annual trips to seniors, disabled students, at-risk youth and others who benefit from the work of these local organizations.
Since the Van GO program began in 2000, Community Transit has awarded 136 vehicles to a variety of 501c3 non-profit organizations around Snohomish County. This year, the agency awarded eight seven-passenger vans and two 16-passenger mini-buses. By state law, other Community Transit surplus vehicles are sold at public auction to help recoup the public investment. More information about the Van GO program is online at www.communitytransit.org/VanGo.
“We are very excited that we are able to grant some of our surplus vehicles to non-profit organizations to enhance access to transportation for all residents,” said Community Transit Board of Directors Secretary and Mukilteo Mayor Jennifer Gregerson, who awarded the vehicles with CEO Emmett Heath.
“Community organizations are often better equipped to serve their neighborhood residents than we are,” said Heath. “Our ability to provide them with a vehicle to better serve those residents is a partnership Community Transit is very proud of.”
This year, 33 groups submitted applications demonstrating how they would use the vehicles to benefit people in their community. In all, 12 non-profit organizations will be able to provide trips to their community members thanks to retired vanpool vans and paratransit mini-buses they received in the competitive grant program.
This year’s Van GO recipients include:
· Cocoon House (Everett)
· Glacier Peak Institute/North Counties Family Services (Darrington)
· Granite Falls Community Coalition/Granite Falls Foodbank (Granite Falls)
· Hand Up Project (Edmonds)
· Josephine Sunset Home (Stanwood)
· Korean Community Service Center (Edmonds)
· Monroe Gospel Women’s Mission (Monroe)
· Northwest’s Child (Seattle)
· Pioneer Human Services (Marysville)
· Shepherd’s Garden Senior Housing (Lynnwood)
The Edmonds-based Hand Up Project helps people in crisis get themselves to a place of sobriety and self-sufficiency by providing necessities such as food, toiletries, tents, blankets and clothing to individuals in desperate need. The group will use the seven-passenger van to provide the homeless population of Snohomish County with more than 14,000 trips to employment, temporary housing locations and various appointments.
The Korean Community Service Center, also based in Edmonds, is committed to empowering, educating and inspiring Korean American seniors, youth and families through counseling, education, bilingual, cultural and social services. The group will utilize this seven-passenger van to provide 1,800 trips taking seniors and youth to various programs and to citizenship assistance workshops.
Community Transit has been responsible for providing transportation options for Snohomish County residents for 40 years, including bus and paratransit service, vanpool and alternative commute options. Learn more at www.communitytransit.org.