I was very disturbed and disappointed to read in the Nevada Appeal "Letters to the Editor" a letter written from one of our valued Home Companion volunteers, Mary Wulkau. She states in her letter that the Retired and Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP) no longer provides rides for seniors because of lack of funds and seniors have nowhere to turn.
RSVP apparently did a poor job explaining its position on transportation to Mary or she would not have written such a letter as she did.
I would like to state here the facts correctly so as to set the record straight for everyone concerned.
It recently came to my attention that RSVP had on its roster 150 seniors who were able to get into our van and be transported to doctors, grocery stores, pharmacies, hair salons, etc. Making appointments for these seniors and finding available volunteer drivers, etc., became a full-time staff job, not to mention the cost of insurance, gasoline, oil, and maintenance for which RSVP is not funded.
Also, what RSVP was providing was a duplication of transportation services offered by Carson City who had already announced the addition of four new, 14-passenger vehicles especially equipped for seniors and handicapped persons for 50 cents a ride directly to and from their homes. If a senior was totally indigent, other arrangements could be made to waive the fare.
RSVP wrote to riders on its roster and explained this situation and gave them a list of the city and other providers such as Cancer Resource Center, Veterans Affairs, etc. Also, long-time clients who were provided rides by their RSVP Home Companion volunteers would continue. Also, the transportation from Carson City to Reno/Sparks would continue as the Division for Aging Services does provide funding for these services which Carson City Transportation does not offer.
I know of no county in Nevada who provides more transportation for its seniors than the city of Carson City and for Mary Wulkau to write a letter that many seniors are having trouble finding rides is just not the case.
There are only just so many dollars to go around for services for our very deserving seniors and to use them to duplicate transportation already being provided by another source is not in our seniors' best interest.
RSVP has a history of advocacy of the most aggressive nature for our seniors and we have fought for the past 32 years to keep seniors independent and in their own homes as long as possible and we will continue to do so. For more information call 687-4680.
n Janice Ayres is executive director of the Nevada Rural Counties RSVP.