The needy lack transportation, coalition says New advocacy group sees link to hunger

April 21, 1993|By Anne Haddad | Anne Haddad,Staff Writer

Lack of transportation for low-income people is first among issues raised by the Carroll County Coalition to End Hunger, a new advocacy group.

"Transportation really does impact getting to food sources. It's such a pervasive issue," said Sylvia Canon, a coalition member and director of Human Services Programs of Carroll County Inc.

People who are unable to get to larger supermarkets may end up spending more money buying food at nearby convenience stores, said Gay McCormick of Westminster, one of the coalition's co-founders.

Or they may spend money on taxis to get to shopping areas. "Just think of what else you could have done with all that money," Ms. McCormick said.

Transportation affects many aspects of people's lives, she said. "People may get a job, but [have] no way to get there," Ms. McCormick said. "Or they may have day care, but no way to get their child there."

The Carroll coalition is one of several forming around the state under the sponsorship of the Maryland Food Committee. The coalition is drawing members from anti-poverty agencies, churches, community groups and individuals to effect changes that benefit hungry, homeless and low-income people.

The group was to meet last night at the Barrelhouse in Westminster with Darlene DeMario, a transportation coordinator with the county.

Carroll Transit System, a Westminster-based, private, non-profit agency, provides shopping shuttles and a call-in ride service on its vans. The agency provides subsidized rides for reduced fares to eligible low-income people, as well as higher rates for the general public.

But much of the service requires advance notice from the rider, and that isn't always possible, said Ms. Canon.

"Our people don't always know today that they need to go tomorrow," Ms. Canon said. "Carroll [Transit] needs some planning and some structure."

While the shopper shuttle makes the rounds to grocery stores, she said, it doesn't stop at food banks or soup kitchens.

Ms. DeMario said she would take the coalition's concerns to the county officials and committees looking at transportation issues. She said the county and Carroll Transit are coordinating efforts with other agencies. The coalition will meet 7:30 p.m. May 18 at the Barrelhouse, where Human Services Programs, Carroll County Food Sunday and the Department of Social Services are located.

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