OmniAccess Paratransit Delivers Groceries to Residents in Need During COVID-19

May 13, 2020
Volunteers and OmniAccess staff load cases of groceries and produce donated by Wal-Mart on Riverside Ave. in Rialto on Thursday, May 7, 2020. Despite the blazing afternoon heat, the volunteers’ dedication never wavered. “Our partners love having OmniAccess paratransit vehicles as a resource because they transport larger amounts of goods and can also utilize the wheelchair ramp for quicker loading,” said MV Transportation Operations Manager Vandasha Lavan.

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.”

Volunteers at The Way World Outreach’s Arrowhead Campus in San Bernardino load crates into the OmniAccess paratransit vehicle for morning donation pickups at six locations, including Chipotle and Olive Garden.

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.”

If you are interested in volunteer opportunities or need assistance, contact The Way World Outreach or Helping Hands Pantry during COVID-19 on their websites.

3 thoughts on “OmniAccess Paratransit Delivers Groceries to Residents in Need During COVID-19

  1. There are so many people working together behind the scenes that don’t get the recognition they should….public transportation is one source of hard work and dedication…our drivers put themselves on the line and our team as a whole continues to do what they can to serve our community.

    thank you to WWO and Helping Hands Pantry for partnering up with OMnitrans and providing an opportunity to connect our community with valuable resources during these difficult times!

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