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Van Ministry Receives Grant from Steele-Reese

The Steele-Reese Foundation has awarded OLBH a grant of $36,000 to support the hospital’s van ministry which serves patients in need of transportation for medical services.

The monies received from Steele-Reese will provide for free non-emergency medical transportation. OLBH’s Healthy Community Services (HCS) operates the van ministry to outpatient services at the OLBH campus, campus physician offices, and to the Bellefonte Primary Care Centers.

“A major barrier to accessing outpatient services is a lack of public transportation,” Mary Ellen Conley, OLBH’s Senior Services coordinator, said. “There are also very limited options, all of which are expensive, for patients who need wheelchair transport. Our van ministry was created to help bridge this gap and to serve people with limited resources who have no other means of transportation for their outpatient services and we’re appreciative of the Steele-Reese Foundation for its supports of this ministry.” Conley wrote the grant proposal to Steele-Reese.

The HCS Van Ministry service operates two vans, one of which is equipped with a wheelchair lift. The ministry operates Monday-Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. It serves patients who live within a 25-mile radius of OLBH. The service generally operates at capacity, so one week’s notice is needed for scheduling. The HCS Van Ministry is operated entirely by philanthropic support and private donations.

The Steele-Reese Foundation, a trust for charitable purposes, was created by Eleanor Steele Reese in 1955. The Foundation makes grants to charitable organizations operating in the western states of Idaho and Montana, and in the southern Appalachian mountain region of eastern Kentucky. The Steele-Reese Foundation supports projects in education, health, human/social services, arts/humanities, and conservation/preservation.

To schedule transportation with the HCS Van Ministry, call the HCS office at (606) 833-3366 or toll free at 888-635-2200.    

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