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From the Latrobe Bulletin:
Laurel Faith in Action staff member Sibby McLaughlin, rider Minnie Bishop, new rider Beverly Kreuzberger, guide Sandy Romano and staff member Dee Kane participate in first guided trip of the new program.Laurel Faith in Action launched a new program for active adults over age 60. Collaborating with the Westmoreland Transit Authority, they are offering guided trips to the grocery stores and mall from stops in Latrobe and Derry.
Laurel FIA Executive Director Jane Kerr said, “Many senior citizens could be getting out and about, getting their groceries, going to a movie, visiting a friend, or doing a bit of shopping, if they just had some help reading the transit schedules and navigating the routes. Two guides are ready to help. The best news is all residents aged 65 and older can ride the Transit Authority buses free and half-priced for disabled adults.
“On July 19, the first guided trip left from the Jefferson Street apartments (Latrobe Manor and Loyalhanna buildings) for a shopping trip to Walmart. The guides accompanied four shoppers and had a great time. They had time to shop and have some lunch before returning safely home. One rider was familiar with riding the bus and recruited her friend who had never ventured out by bus. Her husband had always driven but his recent surgery prevented him from driving and she was homebound.”
Having the ability to get out is something she now enjoys. “It is so nice to be able to go out on the bus and get away for a while. Knowing how to use the bus has been very helpful. Also, it is a great way to get out and socialize with people.”
Her experienced friend echoed, “I love riding the bus. I meet so many different people and they are all so nice.”
The bus guides have been traveling all over Westmoreland and Allegheny counties by bus for many years.
One guide, Kathy, was apprehensive to ride the bus, but her need for transportation pushed her out and she said, “There is a lot you don’t know until you try it. It is so easy to call, go online or visit the Transit Center in Greensburg to get the card that is good anywhere in Pennsylvania.”
She now rides the bus - free - almost every day and always runs into a friend on the bus or makes a new friend while there.
She is looking forward to a trip to the big Farmers’ Market in Pittsburgh.
The other guide, Sandy, grew up in Pittsburgh and was familiar with riding the bus. She rides the bus everywhere - to the hospital for tests, to the store, to the mall, and to Pittsburgh to visit her sister. Once she learned it was free when she reached age 65, she jumped on and off almost daily as well.
Two upcoming trips are planned to Westmoreland Mall - Thursday, Oct. 19 on the 9 a.m. bus and and Thursday, Oct. 26, leaving Latrobe at 11 a.m. It will be a total of two hours round-trip.
There are still a few openings for a bus trip from Latrobe to the Galleria near Johnstown on Wednesday, Nov. 8, leaving at 9 a.m. from downtown Latrobe and 9:15 a.m. from the Latrobe 30 Shoppes, Unity Township. Anyone interested should contact Laurel Faith in Action to register.
Kerr added, “Those wanting to go other places - to grocery stores, the movie theater, Barnes and Noble, etc. or out of town to visit family and friends are encouraged to call too. The Laurel Faith in Action is committed to helping all who want to learn.”
To register or for more information, call 724-539- 4357 or email [email protected].