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Snohomish County, Wash. – Twelve 15-passenger surplus vans, otherwise earmarked for auction, were awarded last week to 12 local nonprofit organizations who answered a call to enhance their service. The vans were awarded at the Nov. 5 Community Transit Board of Directors virtual meeting through the agency’s Van GO vehicle grant program.
The vehicles, originally part of Community Transit’s vanpool fleet, will be used to improve access to transportation and strengthen connections in local communities. Recipients were chosen through a competitive process based on how they propose to use the vehicles to serve their communities.
Community Transit launched the Van GO program in 2000 and has since awarded 158 vans and wheelchair lift-equipped paratransit vehicles to qualified 501(c)3 organizations throughout Snohomish County. These organizations primarily serve residents of the Community Transit service area. This includes all incorporated cities and towns in Snohomish County, as well as the Tulalip Reservation and portions of unincorporated Snohomish County, with the exception of Everett.
More information about the Van GO program is online www.communitytransit.org/VanGo.
“These surplus vehicles will make it possible for community service providers to give the people they serve better access to opportunity and essential services such as training, employment, medical appointments and more.” Community Transit CEO Emmett Heath said.
This year, more than 30 groups submitted applications demonstrating how they would use the vehicles to benefit people in their community. Collectively, the vans will provide more than 34,000 annual trips next year to medical appointments, employment opportunities and other services. The vans will also be used to transport and deliver food and other essential supplies.
This year’s Van GO recipients include:
Angel Resource Connection
Angel Resource Connection (ARC) directly assists unsheltered individuals in securing housing while also providing meals, clothes, hygiene kits, and winter survival backpacks that help people avoid hypothermia. During the winter months, ARC travels through Smokey Point, downtown Everett, south Everett and Snohomish helping transport unsheltered individuals to cold weather shelters. ARC will use its van to transport these vulnerable adults and families to these essential services.
Edmonds Church of God
The Edmonds Church of God operates the Night Watch ministry organizing monthly community volunteer events to feed people who are unsheltered. The Edmonds Church of God will use its van to help those facing food insecurity and to help youth and elderly members with their transportation needs.
First Class Association of Washington State
First Class Association of Washington State works with refugees, immigrants, seniors and vulnerable residents, including people who are unsheltered, to provide transportation to and from essential services within Snohomish County. First Class Association of Washington State will use its van to provide transportation to and from medical appointments and employment services.
Gambian Talents Promotion
Gambian Talents Promotion’s mission is to connect Gambians in Snohomish County with local resources and connect this population to the wider community. The group organizes programs and activities throughout the year, offers language interpretation and translation services, and leads organized conversations about pertinent issues affecting the Gambian community. Gambian Talents Promotion will use its van to offer transportation to members of the Gambian community and help improve to access employment and essential services.
Greater Trinity Academy
The Greater Trinity Academy offers an in-person learning option to families, including children of essential workers, who reside within the Mukilteo and Everett school districts. The Greater Trinity Church provides transportation to church services as well as assisting seniors and those living with a disability to reach essential services within the county. The Greater Trinity Academy and the Greater Trinity Church will use their van to support an education center, the church, and community outreach.
Korean Community Service Center
The Korean Community Service Center promotes the health and well-being of the Korean American community within Snohomish County through education, support services, advocacy and community building. The organization offers specialized programs for seniors, individuals with disabilities, youth, and families. The Korean Community Service Center will use its van to provide transportation to seniors and people living with disabilities to reach essential services like medical appointments, grocery shopping, health and wellness classes, as well as culturally relevant meal sites. The group will also provide transportation to citizenship instruction clinics and many other programs.
Latino Educational Training Institute
The Latino Educational Training Institute (LETI) serves the Latino community in Snohomish County. LETI is the “go-to” agency for Spanish-speaking immigrants for a variety of educational, health, and family needs. LETI partners with organizations throughout the county to provide language appropriate assistance to achieve stability for Latino community members. LETI will use its van to provide transportation to language appropriate Labor and Industries Safety Workshops, adult general education, conversational English, financial literacy, business development and wellness classes. The van will also be used to transport people to outreach events and provide emergency transportation when needed.
Millennia Ministries’ mission is to end homelessness by providing crisis, transition, and permanent supportive housing and to address and prevent food insecurity in the community. The organization empowers women, single-mother families and others in need by providing compassion, material support, educational resources, referrals to programs, and other services. The group serves a diverse African American population and others including seniors, immigrants, people living with disabilities and people with health and education disparities that have led them to be socio-economically disenfranchised. Millennia Ministries will use its van to transport volunteers to food distribution and outreach events to help those who are unsheltered, and provide transportation for emergency hotel stays.
Monroe Gospel Women’s Mission
The Monroe Gospel Women’s Mission provides temporary housing to adult women. The Gospel Mission operates a shelter for women and another shelter, Dorothy’s House, provides shelter and resources to pregnant women. The Monroe Gospel Women’s Mission will use its van to provide transportation to food banks, classes, grocery shopping, medical and housing appointments, and to hospitals for childbirth.
North Snohomish County Outreach
North Snohomish County Outreach builds relationships with people living in poverty or experiencing homelessness in North Snohomish County. The group supports people with services like laundry, medical appointments, job interviews, and shelter to help overcome barriers. North Snohomish County Outreach will use its van to provide transportation to cold weather shelters, medical and behavioral health appointments, employment interviews, and many other programs as needed.
North Sound Church
The North Sound Church operates a Parish Health Program to offer assistance to members who are over 65 years of age. The church also operates a Children’s and Youth program that hosts several supply and food drives for local schools and other nonprofit organizations. North Sound Church will use its van to transport volunteers to food and supply drives, and transport senior members to medical and dental appointments.
YMCA of Snohomish County
The YMCA of Snohomish County offers school-age and early education care programs, homework support, social outreach, and healthy living programs through its six branch locations, program sites, and other organization affiliations. The group also coordinates with other organizations throughout the county to provide volunteers and event support. The YMCA operates programs and partners with Big Brothers Big Sisters and United Way of Snohomish County. The YMCA of Snohomish County will use its van to transport volunteers to assist with its many programs and partner outreach programs.
Community Transit is responsible for providing bus and paratransit service, vanpool and alternative commute options in Snohomish County. The agency is building a network of Swift bus rapid transit lines with Swift Blue Line along Highway 99, the Swift Green Line between Canyon Park/Bothell and Boeing/Paine Field, and the new Swift Orange Line coming to Mill Creek and Lynnwood in 2024.