The Intercity Transit Authority recently awarded four retired vanpool vehicles to local organizations, effectively giving a second life to the aging vans. This month’s Authority action awarded vehicles to the Boys & Girls Club of Thurston County, Wee Love Learning Early Learning Center, Catholic Community Services and the Thurston County Police Athletic League.
The vans will be used to provide transportation for low-income and at-risk youth (Boys & Girls Club), student learning (Wee Love Learning Early Learning Center), and for volunteers, youth, and staff to travel to Police Athletic League events. Catholic Community Services will use their van to transport chronically homeless and disabled individuals to medical appointments and social services. Catholic Community Services received a van through the van grant process in 2006 and, after six years of use, they plan to donate it to the Community Kitchen, an organization that delivers meals to at-risk and low-income teenagers.
Intercity Transit awards the 8- and 12-passenger vehicles to qualified local non-profit organizations based on a competitive application and review process instead of selling them at auction. The vans must be used to help worthy local non-profits leverage resources and fulfill a transportation need that Intercity Transit fixed-route bus service cannot.
“There are many wonderful and worthy agencies in our community for whom one vehicle can make a huge positive impact in succeeding in their work,” states Mike Harbour, Intercity Transit General Manager.
Since 2004, a total of 29 retired vanpool vans have found new homes. Agencies previously awarded vans include Olympia Gospel Mission, Morningside, South Sound Senior Services, Habitat for Humanity, the Pacific Peak Girl Scout Council, Behavioral Health Resources, Bread and Roses, and others.
The application and award process occurs once a year. Applicants must serve clients within the cities of Olympia, Lacey, Tumwater, or Yelm or within their respective urban growth areas. Only government agencies and private nonprofit organizations that qualify under 26 USC 501(c)(3) are eligible to participate in the process. Applicants must identify how a van will benefit their constituency and the community as a whole. They must also demonstrate that existing transit service cannot meet their transportation needs and address their ability to maintain the vehicle for its intended function.
For more information about the Van Grant Program, contact Carolyn Newsome, Vanpool Manager, at 360-705-5829.