Heritage Florida Jewish News - Central Florida's Independent Jewish Voice

By Chris DeSouza
Assistant Editor 

Let Jewish Family Services provide the RIDE


A little known service that is offered by Jewish Family Services is the RIDE program. Through its partnership with ITN and Mears, JFS provides free roundtrip transportation for qualified senior citizens or disabled adults who need a ride to and from any medically related appointment.

Claudia Tobin, the program coordinator, said it is easy to participate in RIDE—which stands for Reliable Independent Drivers for the Elderly. There are some conditions—clients must be over 65 years of age or disabled and meet a specific income level. Tobin also asks each new client a few more questions to verify eligibility. A release form, which Tobin can mail with a stamped return envelope, must also be signed. Once the release form is returned to JFS, the client will be on file in the system and can request a ride up to two times a month.

Tobin asks that requests be made 72 hours in advance, if possible, so she can make arrangements with either ITN or Mears to take the client to his or her medical appointment, whether it be a doctor’s visit, dentist, lab work, or to pick up prescriptions.

Rita Hopkins, a RIDE client, told fellow residents at a “Gratitude Meeting” where she lives that she is grateful for Jewish Family Services and this program. “The RIDE program is a fantastic opportunity to be able to stay in the best health possible for my age. If it wasn’t for JFS Orlando, I couldn’t get the medical treatment I need. They help me stay alive and in the best health possible.”

Tobin was pleased to hear this from a client. “It’s true that many senior citizens just stop taking care of their health because they have no way to go to doctor’s appointments or refill prescriptions,” she said.

Hopkins testimony proved that RIDE increases independence by providing access to healthcare for program participants.

For RIDE information and appointments, call Claudia Tobin at 407-644-7593, ext. 239. She is available Monday, Wednesday and Thursday from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.


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