Kernersville center offers free rides to older adults, people with disabilities

KERNERSVILLE, N.C. — Frances Turner is retired but she stays on the move.

“It makes me feel good knowing I'm helping someone else even if it's just simple driving,” she said.

She's one of about 1,500 volunteers with the Shepherd's Center of Kernersville who use their own car and gas to give older adults or those with disabilities rides to medical appointments or errands.

“Our goal is to keep people who are aging in their homes,” said Anita McNeill, executive director of the Shepherd’s Center. “It is proven that people who are independent and get to stay in their own home live longer.”

It also keeps them connected and social.

“Anything we can do to keep people involved, to make them feel part of the community and have a support system of people looking out for them, it makes them feel less isolated,” McNeill said.

The Shepherd's Center serves about 4,000 people in the Kernersville area. The Winston-Salem Foundation funds the position in charge of coordinating volunteers and services.

The concept of free rides is simple, but the actual impact is far greater for everyone involved.

“I try to be a blessing to them, but they're more of a blessing to me,” said Turner speaking about the people who she transports. She describes many of them as her friends. “They just put a smile on my face and help me get through the day.”

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