How do you get an idea from a thought to reality? A few like-minded, dedicated volunteers with time and talent, a community ready with support and funding, and a group of individuals who badly need the service.
The new Cambria Community Bus rolled down the street during the Pinedorado Day parade, one of many buses purchased or donated over the years to provide transportation to senior and disabled individuals in Cambria and San Simeon. Donations make this bus run, and the disabled and senior riders have the opportunity to ride the bus to their appointments in San Luis Obispo and Paso Robles as well as Cambria.
The buses are driven by volunteer drivers, and there are usually an average of 35 drivers on the roster. The riders count on the drivers to help them navigate the stairs to and from their homes as well as get on and off the bus. Drivers are trained and ready to help.
Riders also go grocery shopping at the Cookie Crock, to lunch at the great restaurants in town, and to social events where they can enjoy the company of others. Many of the riders are single or widowed, and the socialization in the bus is as important as the destination.
Bus coordinator and council member Warren Gay stated that the two buses average 2,200 miles per month with all of the trips in and out of town.
It costs $40,000 per year for both buses including the dispatcher, insurance and fuel. The Cambria General Store gives us a slight break on fuel. We use local labor for most repairs and tires (the spare was stolen off one bus within the last six months), Gaye recently told the group during a meeting of the Community Council.
Fall is the season for the Community Council fund drive. The donors who give to the council give directly to the community. After the bus expenses are forecast for the next year, the remaining funds are redistributed to the community in a grant process.
If you are a nonprofit, look for your grant information email or contact council secretary Suzanne Kennedy at firstname.lastname@example.org or 909-0917 for your application. You can also get an application from the local library.
The next council meeting is 7 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 29, at Rabobank Community Room. Come and meet the council members and listen to needs of the community.
Cindy Bitto is a member of the Cambria Community Council.