Providing Transportation for Our Kūpuna

In the 1950s very few things were as iconic in Hawaii than the SS Lurline. The luxury liner brought visitors across the Pacific Ocean from California to Honolulu. Jane remembers it well. “It was so exciting to see the ships come in. People greeted the passengers, they threw coins,” 82 year-old Jane fondly recalls.

Today it is another form of transportation that makes her smile. It is the Catholic Charities Hawai‘i van. And while it may just look like another vehicle on the road, Jane says, “I cannot get along without it.”

Jane worked for the State Department of Public Safety for many years. She retired at the age of 71 and a year later was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease. It was during her recovery that she found herself needing some assistance. After waiting patiently on the list, she moved into an affordable housing complex for seniors in Makiki. CCH provides on-site case management at the complex via a professional social worker who helps the residents assess their needs and access needed community resources and services to enhance their aging in place experience. “It’s so centrally located, so convenient to all the things I need,” Jane says.

But even though close by Jane found it difficult and often times unsafe to walk a few blocks to the grocery store. On one occasion she tripped on the sidewalk and remembers being fairly bloody and bruised after the incident. She also has many times, dodged hazardous drivers as she navigated marked crosswalks.

Now she calls on Peter and the team at Catholic Charities Hawai‘i’s transportation services. “We have 14 vehicles ranging in size and capacity that can help our seniors get to where they need to go safely,” explains Peter Reyes, Senior Services Program director at Catholic Charities Hawai‘i.

Jane enjoys seeing the friendly drivers as they take her to the YMCA three times a week where she participates in a fitness class called, Silver and Fit. She also goes to CCH’s Lanakila Multi-Purpose Senior Center to attend her Portuguese Club activities and makes her Portuguese Bean Soup that sells out every year at the Center’s annual Show and Sell event. The CCH van also takes her to her doctor’s appointments and grocery shopping with other residents at her complex.

“The drivers are so patient and kind and help us with our bags.” Jane shares. She is so thankful for the generous support of donors that allows this service to exist as she has found a sense of safety and independence with Catholic Charities’ transportation services.