Eau Claire (WQOW)- For families without a car, and on a fixed income, getting kids from point A, to point B can be a struggle. This is especially true during the summer months, when transportation to and from school and to after school activities isn't offered by local districts.
In the summer months, without shuttles to and from school, the Eau Claire YMCA sees a lot of children who are forced to find other transportation, like the city bus. "A lot of people look at the city buses and say 'Oh, that's a waste of money we don't use it'," said Suzie Slota with the YMCA. "But I think the rider ship is higher than a lot of people realize and for those people who do use it, they don't really have other options."
"Imagine three hours a day just spent on trying to get your kid to daycare and trying to get back to your job, and let's say the bus is late, you have very little control over that," commented Julie Keown-Bomar with the Eau Claire County Extension Office. With a little work some say the city's transit options could so more to assist those who rely on services the most. "Maybe we can create community solutions," continued Julie. "Like having ride share programs or having loner cars that people can use. There's lots of grassroots solutions out there."
Higher transportation costs, like the rising price of gas, hit low income families the hardest, because they have less wiggle room in the household budget. "A car breaks down, and what for some is an inconvenience, for others, can be the difference between keeping or losing their job," said Anna Cardarella with Western Dairyland in Eau Claire.
Wheels for Work is a low interest loan program that can help families and individuals, fix up or purchase a car. Since it began in 2000, the program, offered through Western Dairyland, has made sure over 700 people have a reliable way to get around.
"It's not just about going to work, it's about getting to life," continued Anna. "It's about getting kids to their summer activities, it's about going to doctors appointments, it's about becoming productive members of society. Being independent."
Western Dairyland also offers auto insurance assistance. They will match, up to $300, payment on an auto insurance policy. For example, say you pay $300 toward your $600 premium. Western Dairyland will cover the other $300.
For more information contact Western Dairyland. The number is 715-836-7511.