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Demand for Care Van Service Grows Since It Resumed in March

Enumclaw Regional Healthcare Foundation director Rene’ Popke reported to the Enumclaw City Council Monday about the progress of the service as well as other projects the foundation is undertaking.

The celebrates 30 years in service this year, raising funds and helping to ensure the use of the money goes back to benefitting the local community.

Foundation director Rene’ Popke reminded the about the important milestone before sharing some impressive numbers from its Care Van program that was stopped in 2010 due to lack of funding before resuming in March this year. According to the Foundation's website, which provides a rich history of the program, it was thanks in part to a $15,000 Franciscan Health System grant that the program was reinstated this year.

The Care Van program began transporting its first patients in 1987 under the Enumclaw Regional Health Foundation. It provided free rides to anyone needing transportation to the local hospital, pharmacies, local medical offices including physicians, dentists, optometrists, chiropractors, and therapists.

Since March, Popke said the van has racked up 1,841 miles, made 340 trips and used more than 300 gallons of gas. The average age of a rider is 74 and 27 patients have used the wheelchair lift. There were 100 rides provided in March; 166 in April; and it is projected that more than 200 rides will have been provided by the end of May, she said.

The van averages nine trips per day and only operates from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., covering areas from Black Diamond to Bonney Lake and even Carbonado. Thursdays and Fridays happen to be its busiest days.

More from the Foundation:

Books for Babies: Popke further shared that it has provided more than $10,000 through a collaboration with the Enumclaw School District toward its Baby Book Bundle program to purchase books for the families of babies born at St. Elizabeth Hospital. It's a continued effort to encouraging reading in the community, she said.

Dental Van: The current Dental Van program that is being administered by Enumclaw Youth and Family Services has a one-year waiting list due it the high demand for its services, Popke said. Many local dentists have donated time toward this effort. ()

Task Forces: The Foundation oversees five task forces overseeing various issues relevant to the community: drug and alcohol abuse, access to healthcare (), mental health, violence prevention () and the newest and largest hunger task force addressing hunger issues on the Plateau now called 'Neighbors Feeding Neighbors.' ()

To learn about the latest news and information from the Enumclaw Regional Healthcare Foundation, visit its website at www.enumclawregionalhealthcarefoundation.org.

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