Selkirk Mobility and Aaron’s No Frills have come together to make sure seniors and folks with mobility issues can get out to the grocery store, get their shopping done and maybe run into a friend or two. Maybe they’ll even make some new friends.
Starting Sept. 21, twice a month a free shopping charter bus will take seniors and those with temporary or permanent mobility issues to Aaron’s No Frills and back home again so they can stock up on groceries.
Jaimie Kazuk, Selkirk Mobility Acting Manager, says everyone is thrilled to be providing a critical service to the community.
“Selkirk Mobility is proud to once again be providing a service that gets seniors and those with mobility issues out into the community,” Kazuk said.
“The pandemic kept everyone isolated and our aging population and anyone with mobility issues were impacted greatly. We are thrilled to be partnering with Aaron Hoium and No Frills to provide this valuable service.”
For Hoium, he welcomed the chance to give back and said that when Kazuk reached out for No Frills to partner with Selkirk Mobility, he jumped at the chance.
“To me it was a no brainer, we wanted to be part of this right away,” Hoium said.
“We’re pretty excited about this service starting up and it sounds like there’s some excitement in the community as well.”
Providing not only a free service, but independence as well
Hoium met Sharon Walsh, who relies on a wheelchair to get around, when she took an advance ride on the charter recently.
“She was just ecstatic about this and couldn’t wait to get this going and be able to come in and do her own shopping,” he said.
“After talking with Sharon, it got me excited because she was so excited. We take things for granted, we have our own vehicles and we don’t realize how important this type of service is. It’s an eye opener, and it made me even more happy to be part of this.”
Walsh said she’s looking forward to all the service has to offer.
“To me personally, it’s just wonderful. Winter is coming, in the summer I can get out with my wheelchair but in the winter months I just can’t,” she said.
“This means that once or twice a month I can get to No Frills and pick up a few items that I might need. Because of my wheelchair I need the lift, so this is just wonderful. It couldn’t be more accommodating.”
Walsh, who lives in Woodlands Court, is encouraging her friends to use the service. She notes it’s a free service, so “the price is certainly right,” and bus driver Shelley Simard is welcoming and a pleasure to spend time with.
“I hope that more people will make use of this service. My goodness it’s free and it gives you an hour out to get a few little items that you might need. I know people will pick things up for you but it’s different when you get to go down and look at things yourself.”
The cold and darkness of winter elicits a groan from Walsh, who also said that after being confined for two years by the pandemic, being able to continue to get out into the community is very important.
“We haven’t been able to do or go anywhere, we’ve been locked down so many times, so this is wonderful. Shelley is wonderful, I’ve had her as a driver before many times. They’re a good group at Selkirk Mobility.”
Free door to door service is a phone call away
The free charter will run from 10am to 2pm, the first and last Wednesday of every month. You will need to book the bus at least 24 hours in advance and say whether it will be just yourself or a care assistant as well.
According to the 2021 Canada Census, 2,594 people in the City of Selkirk are aged 65 and older, or 24.7 per cent of the population.
Selkirk Mobility staff are known for their friendly and caring demeanor and are excited to once again be offering a service that is valued by so many.
When you call to book your ride, you’ll speak with administrator Bonnie Turenne and she’s looking forward to connecting with the community.
“I’m happy to once again be able to talk to people on the phone and make the important connection to help them get out and in this case get their groceries,” Turenne said.
“For many of us getting groceries is something we take for granted. But for others, it’s a challenge. Providing this free service gives people access to what others have. It might mean they don’t have to call a friend or family member and ask for a ride, and that provides independence. That’s important.”
Kazuk said everyone – from bus drivers to office staff – is happy to be back in the community providing a service.
“Selkirk Mobility is kind of a unique place. Everyone has connections with the clientele and not being able to provide our service to the friends we’ve made over the years was difficult,” she said.
“We’re all looking forward to reconnecting, and seeing the people that have come to be part of our little community. We’re so thankful to Aaron for coming on board for this, and we know that this service will continue to grow, benefit the local economy, our citizens as well as the planet through ride sharing.”
To book a ride to Aaron’s No Frills with Selkirk Mobility just call 204-482-1234. And remember, please call at least 24 hours in advance.
For more information contact:
Acting Manager, Selkirk Transit Authority