By Maddie Bruegger, The Circuit
Have you ever tried to get a taxi or some other form of public transportation in Atchison? Chances are there may not have been many options.
Now, Atchison-based non-profit, Project Concern, offers public transportation to Atchison residents, no matter the age.
Project Concern focuses on two programs: transportation and nutrition.
According to Project Concern’s website, over 15 percent of Atchison residents do not have access to transportation such as a personal vehicle or taxi service.
“Transportation is a piece that is needed to get to medical appointments, to get grocery shopping done, to get all those essentials that we kind of take for granted,” said Stephanie Barnes, Executive Director of Project Concern.
Riding on the Project Concern bus costs $3.00 round trip, and rides must be called in one business day prior to the ride.
At Benedictine College, many of the dining hall employees as well as other campus employees utilize Project Concern’s transportation program.
“It’s demand response, so they set up an appointment and we pick them up at their door and take them to their location, but sometimes there are appointments already set up for pick up,” Barnes said.
People who work particular shifts around Atchison are able to schedule a daily pick-up and drop-off time. This allows them to be at work consistently on time.
John Bishop, a former bus-driver for Project Concern, agrees with Barnes for the necessity of general public transportation.
“Offering transportation to anybody, for the elderly or whoever, general transportation, people who do not have automobiles who need to get to the hospital, to Walmart, it helps,” Bishop said. “You’ve heard the expression ‘food deserts’— by offering people transportation it helps alleviate the food desert.”
Project Concern also fights hunger in Atchison through their meals-on-wheels program and in-house dining services. Many of the families receiving meals from Project Concern during the week also receive meals from Benedictine College’s Hunger Coalition program on the weekend.
“I think we deliver on average 175 home-delivered meals, so that may be up to 140 homes,” Barnes said.
Meals are delivered over the lunch hour Monday-Friday for those who are unable to make it into town. Lunch is served in-town at 11:45am. Each meal has a suggested donation of $3.00 for those 60 and over.
“Project Concern started as an assurance program, people would volunteer their time to come in and make phone calls to check in on older citizens,” Barnes said. “That turned into taking people to doctor’s appointments, and then the nutrition piece naturally fell into place.”
Through the general public transportation program, Project Concern continues to fight both health and hunger problems within the Atchison county.
Project Concern is located at 504 Kansas Ave, Atchison, KS 66002.
The bus runs 7:15am to 4:00pm Monday-Friday and Saturday 9am to 3pm. To schedule a ride, call (913)-367-4655.