Merry and Kenn Bell are shown here with their beloved Cockapoo, Shannon.

Merry and Ken Bell are shown here with their beloved Cockapoo, Shannon.

Ken and Merry Bell’s marriage, now 28 years strong, blended two households of one son and one daughter each. One son moved to Orlando, and they followed shortly thereafter, moving into a Kinneret apartment. Ken and Merry have always been independent, but Merry’s illness left her weak and needing a wheelchair, which makes taking the bus impossible. Their insurance allows reimbursement for 4 roundtrips to doctor appointments a year, but Merry has several doctors she visits regularly.

“I don’t drive. Never have,” says Ken. “My step-dad tried to teach me when I was young. The stick shift jammed and the truck lunged out of control, and hit a tree. I walked away telling myself that I didn’t need that aggravation, and I never got back behind the wheel. I always lived in a city with bus transportation or I walked.”

“If we didn’t have the RIDE program, we would have to change doctors, or just not go. Thank you for proving the RIDE program. RIDE provides peace of mind. Merry can go to the doctors she trusts, and get the care she deserves.”

Demand for services continues to increase as the number of people on fixed income increases; families struggle with fewer resources, and are often caring for their aging parents. The National Council On Aging reports that 41% of seniors do not feel that the transportation support in their community is adequate. JFS Orlando responded to Ken and Merry’s need through our Reliable Independent Drivers for the Elderly (RIDE) program by providing them free transportation to their medical appointments. That’s right…Ken and Merry’s RIDE services are provided FREE at no cost to them. In 2015, our RIDE Program provided 564 roundtrip rides to 95 seniors or disabled adults just like Ken and Merry.

Ken and Merry are just two of the growing number of older adults struggling in our community. Please continue to allow us this honor to serve them and provide a better quality of life.