Greater Hillsborough Senior Services is in need of a new bus

  • Greater Hillsborough Senior Services bus is more than 10 years old and is in need of replacement this year. The organization has embarked on a fundraising campaign to purchase a new bus. TIM GOODWIN / Monitor staff—

  • The Greater Hillsborough Senior Services bus is more than 10 years old and is in need of replacement this year. The organization has embarked on a fundraising campaign to purchase a new bus. TIM GOODWIN / Monitor staff

Monitor staff
Published: 2/9/2019 8:00:24 PM

When Greater Hillsborough Senior Services purchased its bus back in 2012, it was done with the understanding that it was a temporary solution.

It was a used vehicle, but the volunteer organization knew there was a need to provide rides to area seniors who might not have others ways to go grocery shopping, see a movie or attend a Walker Lecture Series event in Concord.

So it raised the required funds, just over $30,000 to purchase the used 2008 Ford 15-passenger bus and began what was a much-needed service to the older population in Hillsborough, Deering, Antrim, Bennington, Washington and Windsor.

“Back then, the key thing was to get a bus,” aid GHSS Publicity Coordinator Barbara Cavanaugh

But now, with the bus more than five years older than when they bought it, its time for a new ride.

“The bus has served us quite well, but it’s to the point now that we’ve been told it won’t pass inspection,” Cavanaugh said. “We knew eventually we’d have to get another bus.”

And that inspection is looming in April. There is still hope that the organization can make the necessary fixes to keep it on the road past April, but even if they can extend the life past the two month deadline, there’s still the understanding that a new bus is needed – and sooner rather than later. It will also take away funds that will be necessary for a new bus.

“The paint is bubbling, there are rust spots, water spots,” Cavanaugh said.

So GHSS has embarked on a fundraising campaign to purchase a brand new bus, but that comes with a price tag upwards of $70,000. Since it was known back when the group’s first bus was purchased that it was a temporary solution, they have been saving.

At this point, they have about $35,000 in the bus fund, but still need to raise around the same amount to get the new bus that will help serve its aging population for many years to come.

A new sign outside of Shaw’s in Hillsborough is keeping track of the fundraising progress and the hope is that more donations will come in to help raise the necessary money to keep the organization’s mission going.

GHSS is less than 10 years old, but it has already made a significant impact in the lives of area seniors. The demographic they serve often can’t drive themselves, but still want to be active.

“The reason we were founded is because we live in an area that’s sort of a vacuum where there’s no public transportation, no taxis and limited shopping,” Cavanaugh said. “If they can’t drive anymore, they’re really up a crick.”

And that can make it quite challenging for those seniors who want to live in a way that’s similar to when they could get themselves around.

“It’s very difficult because they want to stay in their homes and be as independent as possible,” Cavanaugh said.

The group does on average about five outings a month, with a lot of their trips going to Concord where the seniors can go shopping, go out to eat and enjoy some entertainment. Sometimes they rent a coach bus for special trips to places like Boston.

“We try to provide a variety of things for seniors to do,” Cavanaugh said.

Those interested in joining one of the outings just need to call and register and meet at the designated time in the Shaw’s parking lot in Hillsborough. So while there’s still a need to have some transportation to meet the bus, it is nowhere close to the time strain on family or friends if they had to provide rides for groceries and entertainment purposes.

There is a small transportation fee for the trips based on the destination, but that money goes towards things like the bus fund since it is a strictly a volunteer organization.

The plan is to trade in the current bus to help offset some of the costs of the new bus, but that still leaves a big expense.

GHSS will take any donation, “We’ll be happy with $5 or $10,” Cavanaugh said.

For those who would like to donate, send a check to GHSS Bus Fund P.O. Box 1511, Hillsborough, N.H. 03244. All donations are tax deductible.

To learn more about GHSS, visit greaterhillsboroughseniorservices on Facebook or greaterhillsboroughseniorservices.blogspot.com.




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