Saturday, April 16, 2016

PACS driver using own car to deliver meals

Tina Jones has taken to using her own vehicle to deliver meals from  Crittenden County Senior Citizens Center to local residents after state regulations kicked in, preventing the use of center vehicles.

From the April 7 issue of The Crittenden Press
When state regulations recently kicked in that limited how vehicles belonging to Pennyrile Allied Community Services (PACS) could be used, Tina Jones stepped up and offered her own Chevrolet Cavalier to deliver meals to the elderly.

Her altruism was of no surprise to Jenny Sosh, director of Crittenden County Senior Citizens Center.

“She is always willing to do whatever it takes to get the job done,” Sosh said.

Jones, 69, is retired from the local hospital. She has worked 11 years off and on for PACS. She is a lifelong Crittenden County resident and knows most of the people on her 13-mile Meals on Wheels route through the city.

“You really get attached to the people you deliver to,” she said. “For a lot of them, I am the only person they see all day.”

Through the senior center, Hopkinsville-based PACS has for many years offered a meal five days a week to shut-ins or the elderly. It is a program that those on the receiving end have come to rely upon. So when regulations began affecting the use of PACS vehicles for this effort, the senior center needed to find a way to keep its wheels turning without violating the operational policy on its fleet of three government-owned vehicles.

Sosh said there is a formula that directs the number of miles for which those automobiles can be deployed to deliver something other than people to a destination. In other words, the Meals on Wheels program was looking for an alternative source of transportation when Jones offered her private car for the job.

Linda Davis drives a PACS vehicle on her route for Meals on Wheels out in the county, traveling about 60 miles a day. In order to meet state guidelines, the much shorter city route needed some help and that is where Jones stepped in.

She takes a plate of food to almost 20 people every day.

“I don’t mind it,” she said about driving her personal car and getting paid 40 cents per mile to cover fuel and other costs. “I feel like this is my part to help the community. I do what I have to do. I love my job and my people.”

Rachel Cook, aging director for PACS, said there is an area-wide restructuring of how service vehicles can be used. She said in some cases, residents under 60 will have to call Princeton for a ride. The senior center will continue to serve those 60 and over with their transportation needs.