Seniors are often not in a position to factor auto servicing into their fixed budgets. A partnership in Quesnel is tooling up to help.
The Quesnel Seniors Advocacy Service is where many elders turn when they need support. The group is experienced with housing advocacy, parking permits, a menu of informational programs, and one of their most cherished programs - critical for some seniors - is their Accessibility Repair Fund. It’s for car repair.
“We’ve had this program running with Kal Tire for a number of years and what they do is offer the labour part of small, minor repairs and we offer to pay for the parts,” said Susan MacNeill, coordinator with the Seniors Advocacy Service. “Say a senior had the heater go in their car. If it’s just a thermostat, we would pay for the thermostat part and Kal Tire would put it in.”
The local Kal Tire branch wanted to do more. The acting manager of the Quesnel operation, Nikki Gordon, saw the broader benefits of keeping elders in safe, reliable vehicles so the company offered to contribute $1,000 cash as well as their ongoing commitment to fix what’s broken for local senior drivers. That money will go to parts and tires, as needed by the elderly population of the city.
“I just enjoy helping people. Anytime I can help someone I will, especially down on their luck, caught in a pinch or on a limited income such as seniors,” said Gordon. “My grandmother has been a role model to me my entire life, giving everything of herself to help others, whether that was being a homemaker or just with her family. So anytime I can lend a hand or donate to any community program, I do everything I can.”
In one instance, Gordon covered the bill for a visiting nurse who had to drive from another town to cover shifts in Quesnel. Their car had a series of mechanical issues, and one of the customers, overhearing the young medical professional’s plight, offered to cover some of the costs, but Kal Tire also saw the bigger picture and waived the expenses for the community’s greater good and one nurse’s safety.
“An older couple were heading home to Vancouver after attending a wedding here, and as they were leaving, the husband noticed one tire was really bald and thought he needed an alignment,” said Gordon, remembering an instance that shed light on why seniors were particularly close to Kal Tire’s heart. “As this was a late Saturday afternoon his options were limited but he stopped in and we checked out his concerns. Turns out all four tires were down to cords, so a few guys opted to stay late to change the tires over. We had some in stock and I was able to discount them. And then they did the alignment, got them on the road safely, and they were very happy and relieved we took the time to check all the tires and they were safe.”
MacNeill said seniors have so many financial and practical challenges, in moments like that, so Kal Tire’s dependable support, and now this extra investment in the city’s elders in need, keeps the community rolling.
To take part in the Accessibility Repair Fund or any of the Seniors Advocacy Service programs, phone 250-991-9664, go to their website at www.quesnelseniors.ca, or visit them Tuesdays and Thursdays between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. at their office located at West Park Mall (#4 - 155 Malcolm Drive).