The Darien Foundation awards At Home In Darien an $82.8K grant to purchase a handicap-accessible vehicle for seniors and disabled residents

The Darien Foundation awards At Home In Darien an $82.8K grant to purchase a handicap-accessible vehicle for seniors and disabled residents

New “Supervan” will allow disabled residents and wheelchair users of all ages to ride with safety, comfort, and dignity

December 13, 2021 (Darien, Conn) – At Home In Darien (AHID) is a local nonprofit organization that offers invaluable help to seniors and disabled residents, enabling them to maintain independence with dignity and a connection to the community while living at home. In addition to offering grocery shopping, household, and errand services, this unique organization also provides free, safe transportation to over 500 seniors and disabled residents, as well as an estimated 4,000 rides, annually. The service also allows many older Darien residents to avoid isolation by safely transporting them to and from their desired destinations.

Now through the generosity of an $82,880 grant from The Darien Foundation, a new, state-of-the-art Toyota Sienna Hybrid Wheelchair Accessible Van from BraunAbility will provide seniors and members of our community a safer, more secure ride. This van is the second vehicle that The Darien Foundation has funded for AHID. The Foundation also provided a $46,700 grant in 2015 for a custom Chrysler 300 sedan and for tracking and other technology to support the program.

The new 2021 accessible “supervan” was carefully researched by the AHID team. The van will add to the options available to residents and is outfitted with the latest in handicap technology features, including a side vs. rear entry ramp, which “kneels down,” to offer a moderate incline with which to load a wheelchair. The side ramp also allows passengers dependent upon walkers or other mobility aids, such as, canes, and crutches, to enter the vehicle using these devices and then be safely seated, stowing the device nearby.

The van also has a ratcheting system, where a wheelchair can be securely attached in the center (vs. rear) of the vehicle. There is ample seating space for an accompanying caregiver to sit adjacent to the passenger. In addition, the vehicle’s interior has adequate height so that the driver can fully stand up, allowing greater leverage with which to maneuver and secure the wheelchair. 

Executive Director of At Home In Darien Gina Blum said “We are incredibly grateful to The Darien Foundation for this amazing new van and for their continued support and generosity. Not only does the new van have the latest features, which will provide a more comfortable ride for our disabled residents and seniors, it is also a hybrid / fuel-efficient model that is attractive and discreet so that passengers may ride with dignity.” She continued, “We know that transportation is one of the biggest hindrances people face as they try to retain their independence, and this will enable us to help even more people within our community.”

Added The Darien Foundation Executive Director Sarah Woodberry, “Darien is enriched by being a multigenerational community. We are thrilled to partner with AHID again to support this initiative to benefit Seniors and special needs residents in Darien. At Home In Darien has been a lifeline for many in our community, especially during the pandemic.”

Added Blum, “The new van is easy to reserve by simply calling the AHID phone number. We hope that more residents reach out to us so that they can stay connected to the community, and access safe transportation through our friendly, professional drivers.”

For more information about The Darien Foundation, visit darienfoundation.org 

For more information about At Home In Darien, call 203.655.2227 or visit: www.athomeindarien.org