Category: News

Ready Ride – A friendly lift for senior citizens

A friendly lift for senior citizens

When Carolyn Navratil (right) needed a ride to the hospital in Fargo, West Central Minnesota Communities Action’s Ready Ride program put her in contact with Georgia Nelson (left), who volunteers as a driver. (Beth Leipholtz | Echo Press)


When Carolyn Navratil had heart surgery in January, she was told she wouldn’t be able to drive for three weeks. Yet the hospital in Fargo scheduled her for another appointment just two weeks later, which left Navratil in a bit of a predicament.

 “I didn’t have anybody who could afford to take a whole day off work (to drive me to the hospital),” she said. “I didn’t know what to do.”

Then Navratil remembered a program she had heard of called Ready Ride, which matches volunteer drivers with senior citizens needing a ride in Douglas, Grant, Pope, Stevens and Traverse counties.

The program from West Central Minnesota Communities Action works in partnership funded by a grant from the Minnesota Department of Human Services. Though rides to medical appointments are a common need, social obligations or other errands are also part of the program.

 Through Ready Ride, Navratil’s ride to Fargo was organized and she was contacted by volunteer driver Georgia Nelson.

“They coordinated it and I got a call back in a couple days telling me what it would cost and how it would work and giving me the name of the driver,” Navratil said. “She called me and introduced herself and got directions to pick me up.”

Nelson says her experience being a volunteer for the program has been positive.

“Before getting involved with Ready Ride, I was thinking I should be doing more community service but didn’t want to be tied down to a schedule,” Nelson said. “This was the perfect thing because I can kind of work it around whatever else is happening. They call and if you can do it, you can do it. And if you’re busy, you say, ‘Sorry, I can’t.'”

 According to Navratil, Nelson was a stellar driver, as she was on time and made sure all Navratil’s needs were met.

“(After picking me up from the hospital) she asked if there was anything she could do, and I said, ‘Well, I do need a prescription they wrote for me at Target,'” Navratil recalled. “She stopped and we went in and got it. She went above and beyond.”

Ready Ride has about 35 volunteers, with some only available for nearby trips, while others are willing to drive to the Twin Cities or Fargo-Moorhead.

“We prefer a 48-hour advance notice,” said Nicole Melaaf, volunteer coordinator. “For a long distance, the more notice the better.”

Ready Ride drivers are reimbursed for their mileage at the rate set by the IRS, currently 53.5 cents per mile, or they can donate that money back to the program

“We have a pretty good base of volunteers, but we need to get the word out to riders,” Melaaf said.

To schedule a ride, call (218) 685-7433 (RIDE).

WCMCA’s Father’s Resource Program hosting a Free Law Clinic

WCMCA’s Father’s Resource Program is hosting a Free Law Clinic on Tuesday, March 28, 2017 from 4:00-8:00 pm.  The clinic will be held at Legal Services of Northwest Minnesota in Alexandria.  Family law issues are a priority.  Please contact Mikkel Anderson at 320.762.3031 to request an appointment.  Appointments are given out on a first come, first serve basis with limited openings.

Please click the link below for full details on the Father’s Resource Program Free Law Clinic.

Free Law Clinic Information

Grant County Food Connection to be held Wednesday, March 29, 2017 beginning at 2:00 pm.

WCMCA will be hosting the Grant County Food Connection on Wednesday, March 29, 2017 beginning at 2:00 pm at the Elbow Lake office. The food will be disbursed until it runs out.  Anyone who eats qualifies; delivery is available to seniors (please call ahead); and bring your own boxes, totes or laundry baskets to carry food. Thank you to the Elbow Lake Community Healthcare Auxiliary and the North Country Food Bank, Inc. For more information or to volunteer, please contact Nicole or John at 218.685.4486 or 800.492.4805.

MNSure Navigators Available

WCMCA, Inc. has MNSure navigators available to help those regarding special enrollment period eligibility.  Please contact WCMCA and ask to speak with a MNSure navigator.

WCMCA & Douglas County Car Care Vehicle Program Celebration

Legislators and other community partners gathered on Saturday, January 28, to celebrate the great work being done in support of transportation throughout the area.  The agencies that were celebrated at the event were the Douglas County Car Care Program and West Central Minnesota Communities Action, Inc. (Family Loan Program and Ready Ride).  Bremer Bank was awarded for being a stellar community partner, whose efforts include funding for transportation programs through the Otto Bremer Foundation and loan servicing and financial connection to WCMCA’s loan recipients.

Pictured (left to right):  Dave Snyder, MN Asset Building Coalition; Keith Swanson, Grant County Commissioner and WCMCA Board; Sara Carlson, Mayor of Alexandria; Representative Paul Anderson; Missy Becker-Cook, WCMCA CEO; Senator Bill Ingebrigtsen; John Peshek, Douglas County Car Care Program Board; Jill Amundson, WCMCA staff; and Randy Anderson, Bremer Bank.


WCMCA’s Free Tax Preparation

WCMCA is offering free tax preparation for individuals and families in the following five counties:  Douglas, Grant, Pope, Stevens and Traverse.  Hard working individuals who earn $30,000 or less and for families earning $53,000 or less qualify.  If you fall under these guidelines, please contact our tax line at 218-685-7004 to schedule an appointment.

WCMCA Presents Allies In Action Award To Individual Overcoming Hardship

On Tuesday, November 29th, West Central Minnesota Communities Action, Inc held their annual meeting. Due to weather and rescheduling, one award recipient was unable to attend. Today, December 20th, 2016, Sarah was honored with the Allies in Action Award. This award is given to a client who has overcome adversity.

Sarah is a former House Keys client from Douglas County who has overcome many obstacles and gone through a great deal of hardship. Strongly motivated, she has put forward a large amount of hard work to get where she is now.

WCMCA congratulates Sarah on her success and determination to continue bettering not only her life but her children’s lives.