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Spokane Transit Authority drivers help deliver food to seniors amid pandemic

STA drivers are partnering with Spokane Meals on Wheels to get meals to seniors during the coronavirus pandemic.

SPOKANE, Wash. — About 30 drivers with the Spokane Transit Authority are partnering with Meals on Wheels to distribute meals to seniors.

After Gov. Inslee announced the Stay-Home, Stay-Healthy order, STA reported a significant decrease in its riders.

Para-transit drivers schedule rides for passengers with disabilities, but many of these riders have been staying home.

“That meant there was a steep drop-off in the number of people. But we still have our drivers and our vans,” said Brandon Rapez-Betty, STA communications director.

After receiving a request from Meals on Wheels to assist with food deliveries, several drivers are now dropping off meals to seniors.

“They’ve been able to move a lot of food in a short amount of time,” said Jeff Edwards, executive director of Spokane Meals on Wheels.

Volunteers have been passing out one week’s worth of meals to seniors around Spokane County. On any given day, 12 drivers and their vans stop by their homes to deliver the meals.

In three weeks, the partnering drivers and volunteers distributed more than 15,000 meals.

“Truthfully, one of the only reasons we were able to pull that massive food-lift off was because of the support from STA,” Edwards said. “Every senior has gotten their meal, and we’ve been able to maintain contact with every senior.”

“The ability to help people, bringing them necessary meals, it’s just been the positive thing we’ve been able to look forward to,” Rapez-Betty said.

Rapez-Betty said the drivers will be out and willing to help until their rides start picking up again.

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