(AMHERSTBURG, ON) – Over the past four years, students living in Amherstburg have had the option of using a shuttle service provided by local charity, Amherstburg Community Services, to get to and from their classes. This fall, that will no longer be an option after the organization has been unable to raise the funds needed to replace a bus they took off the road back in December.
Students who have come to rely on the service over the past year are now left scrambling to find alternative options. Vanessa Dafonte, a Chemical Laboratory Technology student in her third and final year of the program, said she’s “terrified.”
“I have no idea what I’ll have to do,” Dafonte said. “These past two years have been pretty great. The service is perfect for my program. It is a [service] that I have come to rely on … It’s had a huge impact on my life. This will make going to school that much harder.”
According to Kathy DiBartolomeo, the executive director at ACS, the organization is working to find temporary solutions for riders like Vanessa while they continue to fundraise.
“It is a terrible situation and we didn’t take this decision lightly,” DiBartolomeo said. “We’ve already had students calling us to book the shuttle for the fall semester. It’s disappointing to say the least, but with the vehicles we have currently, we knew we could not reliably provide the service alongside our regular CareLink Health Transit service.”
Amherstburg Community Services has been working to fundraise $75,000 to purchase a new accessible vehicle, which would allow them to continue to provide the service alongside their regular accessible transportation program for adults with mobility issues and seniors.
To date, ACS has raised over $18,000, with local business Concours Mold committing to provide the remaining $25,000 once $50,000 has been raised. Donations can be made online or by visiting the ACS office. Anyone interested in supporting this campaign can also call 519-736-5471.