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JET Express senior transportation celebrates 10 years, but needs volunteer drivers

Posted at 6:29 AM, Nov 15, 2018
and last updated 2018-11-15 08:26:08-05

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Bob Ogren can no longer drive. But the retiree from south Kansas City likes to stay active by volunteering as an archivist at the National Catholic Reporter. 

For the past five years, he's hitched a ride from his home to the office through a service called JET Express.

"I can't tell you how thankful I am. It gets me out of the house. I get to meet good people," Ogren said.

Jewish Family Services coordinates the program. It pairs volunteer drivers with seniors across Kansas City who need rides. Each ride costs $5 no matter the distance. Some of the money goes back to drivers to reimburse them for mileage. 

This year JFS is celebrating its tenth anniversary of operating the program. The coordinator says to make it another ten years, they'll need more volunteers. 

Volunteers like Baruch, whose friend told him about the opportunity once he retired. 

"For me, it's nice providing a service to other people and also getting to know people from different backgrounds. I've met a lot of very interesting people," the driver said.

Coordinator Taly Friedman said those personal connections are what makes the program successful. 

"It's a great way for [seniors] to have some socialization and not just get on a bus. We know older adults need that socialization. So not only are they getting to the doctor or where ever they need to go, but they're also having a relationship and a meaningful conversation," Friedman explained. 

If you want to be a driver, or know a senior who needs a ride, click here for information. 

You don't have to be Jewish to participate, the service is available to anyone.