Free bus offers residents rides to supermarkets

April  11, 2014

      A free monthly bus service will start this weekend for residents of Moline and East Moline who live far from major grocery stores. Thanks to a grant from the University of Illinois Extension, a shuttle will run tomorrow (4/12) to Save-a-Lot and Hy-Vee.

      Betty Gavin, coordinator for SNAP, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, says a smiliar service began in Rock Island in February. So far, it's carried some recent immigrants and people with disabilities, mainly living between 7th and 9th streets.

"They live quite a distance away from the grocery stores and, rather than relying on a neighbor or friend to take them to the grocery store, they thoguht they'd try the bus and see how that worked out for them. The ones that have riden it really feel like it's been a good benefit for them and they are very thankful for it."

      The shuttle has two routes in Rock Island, with pick ups at churches, public housing, and senior high rises. And it'll be the same in Moline and East Moline. 

      Gavin says her goal for the shuttle service is to offer more than just transportation.  

      "So we have this group of people that we are providing different nutritional information and ways and ideas of how to stretch your food a little bit further while en route to the grocery store and while en route back to their residents' place.

      Information about the hours and dates of shutte service is available on the University of Illinois Extension's website, at www.web.extension.illinois.edu.

(Photo courtesy of University of Illinois Extension.)