’Cakes and cars: Breakfast to raise money, recruit volunteers for LBFE transportation

Breakfast to raise money, recruit volunteers for LBFE transportation

Garrett Neese/Daily Mining Gazette Little Brothers Friends of the Elderly is hosting a pancake breakfast and open house at its Hancock office from 7 a.m. to noon Saturday. The breakfast will raise funds for and promote its Drive to Care program for medical transport.

HANCOCK — Little Brothers Friends of the Elderly’s Hancock chapter has been transporting seniors to their medical appointments since the beginning, when it was just former Executive Director Mike Aten giving people rides to the doctor’s office in his car.

It’s grown since then. Last year, LBFE launched the Drive to Care program, aimed at recruiting drivers for its medical transportation program, which helps get nearly 100 seniors to the medical services they need.

LBFE is hosting a pancake breakfast at its offices in Hancock Saturday morning to raise funds and recruit volunteers for Drive to Care. At the same time, there will be an open house showcasing that and the rest of its seven core programs.

“They’ll be display boards, about the wood program and about the medical transportation, the food pantry,” said LBFE donor relations manager Christine Serotzke. “Mostly they’ll just kind of mosey around the offices, see what we’re doing.”

Ninety-six elders are helped through the medical transportation program, said medical transportation coordinator Paul Bruchman. Most are in the Houghton/Hancock area, though some are from as far away as Eagle Harbor.

Volunteers make 70 to 80 transports a month to hospitals locally and in Marquette.

“We’re trying to grow it, but we need volunteers in Baraga and Ontonagon counties to grow the program in those counties,” Bruchman said.

To ease the financial burden for volunteers, Little Brothers now pays them a financial stipend. Drivers who use their own car will receive a $10 stipend for transportation to and from appointments in Houghton/Hancock area, $50 for Baraga, $70 for Ontonagon and $100 for Marquette.

About 40 drivers are involved with the program, Bruchman said. Some have specific windows of availability, he said; others prefer to make specific kinds of trips, such as wheelchair transports.

Many of those drivers are snowbirds, leading to a shortage of drivers during the winter, said medical transport director Julie Zemke.

“That’s part of the charm of volunteerism,” Serotzke said. “You can come and go, and when you’re available we’ll take you.”

LBFE also has vehicles available for transports, including four wheelchair access vans. LBFE is also accepting donations of vehicles in good condition to help augment its fleet.

People interested in volunteering for Drive to Care can contact LBFE at (906) 482-6944.

Saturday’s pancake breakfast will run from 7 a.m. to noon at the LBFE offices at 527 Hancock St.

Tickets will be $7; children 7 and under eat free. Two baskets will be raffled off during Saturday’s breakfast: one with a $100 Visa Gift Card, and another with $200 of certificates to local restaurants.


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