Charity in desperate appeal for funds
Seniors charity Project Action could close next month unless it finds new sponsors to provide vital financial support.
Co-founder Cindy Swan said the charity, which provides free transportation for seniors, needs at least $10,000 before July 15 in order to stay in operation. And in the longer term, Project Ride is trying to find enough funding to cover $110,000 per year to cover its annual operational costs.
“This is where the rubber meets the road,” Mrs Swan said. “We cannot afford to keep the wheels running without any funds. Our appeal today is to seek funding from corporate Bermuda, the Bermuda Government and the entire Bermuda community.
“If you would like for us to continue providing free transportation for seniors and the physically challenged, we need your financial support.”
Over the past 16 years, the charity has provided free transport for seniors, offering both day trips for those in residential care facilities and helping seniors attend medical appointments. While she said the generous sponsorship of Validus Re and Equator Re, along with free diesel donated by Rubis, had kept the charity going, the charity has had greater difficulty finding sponsors recently due to the economic downturn. Mrs Swan said that several years ago, after completing a consultancy project, she was able to donate $10,000 of her own money into the charity to keep it up and running.
Of the charity's two vehicles, she said one deteriorated to the point where it had to be sold for parts and the second is in urgent need of repairs — including $3,000 in parts. “We know the ongoing recession affected local charities,” she said. “But I can honestly share that Project Action has filled transportation gaps for seniors island-wide. The dialysis patients are not out for a joyride, they need those weekly treatments.
“For an immediate band aid remedy, we need to raise $10,000 by July 15 to repair the vehicle and pay our outstanding obligations. If not, the charity will be forced to shut down permanently.
“We need a commitment for additional donations — our annual budget is $110,000 — and we need a new vehicle at a cost of approximately $65,000.
“The onus has to be on all the stakeholders; corporate Bermuda, the government and the community at large.”
Meanwhile, Rose Douglas emphasised the positive impact of Project Action on seniors, saying it provides them with not only a means to make vital appointments, but gives them an opportunity to get outside and feel like a member of the greater community.
“It's important that seniors don't get stuck inside a building,” she said. “At the end of a trip, they feel better. They have been out. They have had an outing. These breaks are important for seniors. Even just going to a beach for a picnic is very important for seniors. They need to keep feeling that they are a part of our society. They don't need to be shut away or shut-ins.”
She recalled having to pay $200 to transport her mother to and from a family funeral, adding: “I'm saying to you, Bermuda, we need your help. We need it for our seniors.”
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