AARP, Toyota provide three cars for MyRide West Tennessee
JACKSON, Tenn. — A local program received new transportation on Thursday.
AARP and Toyota have teamed together to donate three vehicles to the Southwest Tennessee Development District for the MyRide West Tennessee program.
“So excited to be here today in partnership with Toyota and the SWDD to bring Toyota cars to people who have been volunteering and using their own cars to transport individuals in this region to important appointments,” said Rebecca Kelly, AARP Tennessee State Director.
MyRide West Tennessee is a volunteer driven transportation service for adults 60 and older who need assistance getting to and from.
“Volunteers were using their own personal vehicles to go to take people to important places. Obviously, to get their vaccines, but also to medical appointments and to grocery stores. Wherever somebody needs to go,” Kelly said.
The donation is in effort to encourage riders to get vaccinated, but the cars will also be used to assist riders with other appointments.
“It has been a lifesaver for me. I had to originally depend on my daughter, who works, to take off work and to bring me to doctors appointments, and that just wasn’t working out,” said Lisa Wimberly, a MyRide West Tennessee rider.
Riders are appreciative for the new vehicles. They say MyRide West Tennessee has been more than a blessing.
“I feel it’s great, and I was so looking forward to this, this morning,” said rider Janie Lewis. “Seeing the cars and, you know, just been so excited cause MyRide is very special to me.”
Three vehicles were donated to MyRide West Tennessee. However, one vehicle is currently out of service as it is still being wrapped.
Toyota says this is just three of over 50 vehicles being provided in 13 states.
“Together with AARP and MyRide West Tennessee, we are working to bring critical vaccine information and rides to vaccine appointments to communities that need it most” said Jason Bates, Senior Manager, Administration at Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Tennessee. “Through this initiative, we hope to make a big impact right here in Jackson and the surrounding area.”
SWTDD Executive Director Joe Barker says the donation will help increase the number people the program can reach.
“This donation will greatly increase the capacity of The Southwest Tennessee Development District to fulfill the mission of its MyRide Program. Beginning in 2017, this Program has worked locally to ensure that older adults who need assistance are able to get to medical appointments, pharmacies, grocery stores, and other essential locations. With the onset of the COVID pandemic, the volunteers and staff of the MyRide Program have and continue to work tirelessly to ensure older adults have access to the vaccine and are able to maintain their independence safely. The well-being of older adult riders will be a direct impact of this generous gift,” Barker said.