FISH of Concord was founded about 40 years ago as a partial response to a study of Concord’s Unmet Needs that pointed to a lack of transportation locally for those unable to drive themselves. FISH provides rides to and from medical-related appointments, but is not restricted to this type of need, for residents of Concord and occasionally Carlisle. This service is provided primarily within Concord but includes driving to medical offices in nearby communities such as Acton and Lincoln. It does not go into Boston or Cambridge.
Age is not a factor in FISH services. FISH is happy to provide rides to people of any age who, by reason of illness or injury, are unable to drive, but it does not give rides to unaccompanied minors. FISH service is for those who are able to walk, albeit with a cane or a walker, and get in and out of a passenger car. This is for the safety of both clients and drivers.
FISH does not charge for its services. The Concord Carlisle Community Chest provides financial support for the answering service, phone bill, and printing and mailing costs of the schedule. FISH volunteers receive no compensation. Drivers use their own cars and gas. Phone volunteers connect with the answering service but arrange requests for rides. In the course of a year, FISH receives around 400 requests from about 100 people and is able to respond to most of them.
FISH volunteers typically donate one day a month for service although several do more. FISH always needs new volunteers, anyone interested in volunteering should call the FISH number 978-369-2244 and they will be contacted by a FISH volunteer.
Jean Hull and Joanne Mente are in charge of the schedule and send it to 30 people each month. Ellen Bush is the coordinator for drivers and Paula Loynd coordinates the phone volunteers. Jean said they need drivers and phone volunteers and added: “It is very rewarding.”
To volunteer call Louise Haldeman, president, at 369-8562. To request a ride please call the FISH number, 978-369-2244. Many of the volunteers have been in FISH since it started 40 years ago, which illustrates the pleasure volunteering affords.