Desert Access and Mobility (previously known as Desert Blind and Handicapped Association, Inc.) is commemorating 50 years as the only “door-through-door” transportation service in the Coachella Valley. Although that in itself is reason to celebrate, the organization is also receiving a $25,000 Coachella Valley Spotlight grant from the H.N. and Frances C. Berger Foundation. The grant will provide more safe rides to the blind, handicapped and to anyone who cannot “drive safely.”
“Clients who benefit from our services are able to continue with their present independent living lifestyles,” said George Holliday, Desert Access and Mobility Board Treasurer. “Our services take transportation to the next level by walking people from their homes to our vehicles and walking them into their destination. We also assist with carrying groceries into their homes when they have returned from shopping.”
Desert Access and Mobility provides more than 200 individuals with about 3,000 rides annually, covering upwards of 120,000 miles each year. The organization operates with one full-time driver and one part-time driver. The grant will increase the hours of the part-time driver.
“For 50 years this organization has done more than provide rides, they have enriched people’s lives,” said Catharine Reed, Vice President of Charitable Programs for the H.N. and Frances C. Berger Foundation. “Transportation is a basic need, which allows people to maintain medical appointments, pick up prescriptions, and get fresh food from grocery stores.”
Desert Access and Mobility was founded in 1972 by Reya Hamilton and some friends because they saw a need for individuals at their church who were blind and handicapped who needed transportation to medical appointments and personal errands. In 1978, they incorporated and expanded to include the community at large. Services are available to residents of Cathedral City, Desert Hot Springs, Palm Springs, Palm Desert and Rancho Mirage.
“With gas prices on the rise, Desert Access and Mobility is in need of assistance more than usual. We’re happy to help get the word out about this organization, which has become a lifeline to many desert residents,” said Jerry Upham, General Manager of Gulf California Broadcast Company, which owns and operates KESQ News Channel 3 and KPSP CBS Local 2.
Through the Coachella Valley Spotlight partnership with the H.N. and Frances C. Berger Foundation and News Channel 3, Desert Access and Mobility was featured on News Channel 3 programming, in public service announcements and on kesq.com throughout March. For information or to schedule transportation with Desert Access and Mobility, visit www.desertaccess.org or call 760-422-5504.