Manitoulin Transport commits $10,000 in funding to Angel Bus

    The Angel Bus relies on the donations of the community, like this 2017 donation from New North Fuels. Recorder file photo

    New North Fuels to provide $5,000

    GORE BAY—The continued operations of the Angel Bus has received significant funding contributions from two local companies as well as a Manitoulin municipality, and residents of the Manitoulin Lodge Nursing Home and the Angel Bus fundraising committee couldn’t be more pleased.

    “It is a godsend,” stated Ida Nelder, a resident of the Manitoulin Lodge said at a presentation made by Manitoulin Lodge and New North Fuels, last week. “I’ve been on the bus many times  going to an event taking place. It is a very comfortable way to travel.”

    Kelly Chaytor, donations coordinator for the Manitoulin Group of Companies, had told Sandy Cook, of the Angel Bus fundraising committee, that she had forwarded the Angel Bus “a request to our donation committee and they have agreed in extending our yearly donations to the Angel Bus fund for an additional four years. Manitoulin Transport is committing $2,000 a year from 2017 to 2021 for a grand total of $10,000.” As well, an additional $1,000 per year is being committed from New North Fuels, over the same five year period, she said.

    John Van Every, an employee in the Manitoulin Transport Human Resources division, made the presentation of the funds to Angel Bus fundraising committee members Ted Kilpatrick and residents of Manitoulin Lodge on Friday of last week.

    “We hope the Angel Bus will continue to run for a long while,” said Mr. Van Every. “On behalf of the committee this is something we wanted to make an ongoing commitment to the community and seniors needs. It is obviously a very good cause.”

    At a Central Manitoulin council meeting last week, council considered a recommendation from its office and administration committee to make a donation to the Angel Bus.

    “This is a very worthwhile cause,” said Councillor Derek Stephens. “In the letter they sent to us they provided us a list of all their expenses, including the new bus that was purchased (last year). I think this is money well spent and the (Angel Bus) benefits the Island.”

    Council passed a motion for the municipality to donate $1,000 to the Angel Bus, contingent on receiving their latest financial statements.

    “We want to thank these companies and all others so very much for their support. They are amazing and we couldn’t do this without you,” said Sandy Cook, of the Angel Bus fundraising committee. “The Angel Bus is an invaluable Western Manitoulin asset that enables those with accessibility needs to receive medical care, attend community functions, and lead an enriched, normalized life in our community.”

    In 2016 the committee raised over $43,500 through tremendous community support. The Angel Bus went on 110 outings, logging 15,949 kilometres, compared to 45 outings in its first year, reported Ms. Cook. “Our volunteer drivers logged over 645 hours, versus the 205 in 2015.”

    She explained, “last October, the original Angel Bus was sold for $7,800, with over 285,000 kilometres on it. We had paid $9,944 for it in March 2015. Quite a number of passengers found sitting sideways made them nauseous. Other reasons for selling the bus included ongoing electrical problems and excessive noise when travelling.”

    “The ‘new to us’ Angel Bus is also a 2008 model, slightly larger Ford E450, but with only 54,000 kilometres on it,” said Ms. Cook. “It was purchased for $38,985 from MacNab transit, out of Ingersoll. All passengers face forward, it’s much quieter, our previous snow tires fit this bus, and we moved the backup camera and lights over to the new bus from the old. We’re hoping this bus will last 10 years.”

    “Our annual expenses are estimated at $15,000-$18,000,” said Ms. Cook. “This includes $5,000 for insurance, $5,000 for fuel, annual driver MTO medicals and annual driver abstracts, and mechanical repairs. All monies donated to the Angel Bus are used to keep it rolling.”

    Approximately $8,000 is donated over the course of a year through individual private donations, noted Ms. Cook.

    The Angel Bus committee will be holding its annual Spring Wing Ding event May 6 at the Park Centre in Kagawong. The Spring Wing Ding is a ‘60s, ‘70s, and ‘80s vinyl dance, with prizes for the best period-themed outfits.

    “We currently have 12 volunteer drivers for the Angel Bus, and are always looking for more,” said Ms. Cook. “Volunteers to accompany passengers as stewards on the Angel Bus are also needed.”

    The Angel Bus is an invaluable Western Manitoulin asset that enables those with accessibility needs to receive medical care, attend community functions, and lead an enriched, normalized life in our community.