As we overcome this perilous time together, connecting our community continues to ring true in a special way. Beyond providing rides from point A to point B, OmniAccess has pivoted from its usual operations as we cope with the implications of COVID-19 by partnering with The Way World Outreach and Helping Hands Pantry to help provide groceries to community members in need.
Since the beginning of the stay-at-home period to help flatten the curve of coronavirus cases, our paratransit trips have declined. Omnitrans and OmniAccess paratransit operator MV Transportation reached out to both organizations to assist with their food and grocery deliveries to vulnerable populations, including senior citizens and individuals living with disabilities, who are unable to do their regular shopping while they remain safe at home.
“We are happy to adapt to change in order to help meet the current needs of our community,” said Omnitrans Deputy Director of Operations Aaron Moore. “We have the vehicle capacity and staff available due to state stay at home order ridership reductions, so this is a win-win opportunity that allows us to continue serving our customers in a different way.”
To date, nearly 1,000 food deliveries have been made to people in need throughout the San Bernardino Valley. OmniAccess drivers transport volunteers to various local restaurants and stores donating goods including Chipotle, Olive Garden, and Wal-Mart. Volunteers load large cases of groceries into the OmniAccess vehicles and assemble care packages at their warehouses for delivery to people’s residences.
“This is a unified community effort by volunteers, local action groups, businesses, and OmniAccess,” said volunteer Edward Bustamante of San Bernardino. “There is a negative stigma often attached to San Bernardino, but this shows that there are people and organizations doing good things to uplift and give back to those in need during this crucial time.”