Skip to main content

Making a difference – one ride at a time

For the clients of Community First, a Community Living Sarnia-Lambton program, a typical day can take them anywhere – bowling with friends, volunteering at the food bank or attending a fun local event. And now that they have a new multi-wheelchair accessible van with help from the FCC AgriSpirit Fund, getting to these places is a whole lot easier. 

Living life unsheltered

Community First is a community integration program for people with developmental disabilities. The program aims to get people out of their homes and into the world. The average age is 54, and many come from the rural community.

“Many of our clients are older and it gives them so much joy when they can experience hands-on activities outside of their home with friends and people in their community,” explains John Hagens, Executive Director of Community Living Sarnia-Lambton.

Wait less, do more, live happier

With many clients also in wheelchairs, transportation had been difficult, time-consuming and often meant multiple trips, with staff members using their own vehicles that were not properly accessible. The $25,000 received from the FCC AgriSpirit Fund has helped them purchase a 2018 Ford Transit 350 Wagon XL - a game changer for the program.

“Having a single van opens our clients up to a world of possibilities, John explains.  It also cuts down on the number of trips needed to pick up clients from their homes – the vehicle can singlehandedly transport three individuals in wheelchairs.” 

For everyone involved, having a new vehicle extends far beyond improved transportation. 

“It’s time for our rural community to see these individuals who have so much to offer. This project isn’t just about an accessible van or making things easier; it’s about dignity, respect and giving people the right to a happy life.” 

About the FCC AgriSpirit Fund

The FCC AgriSpirit Fund was developed to support charities and non-profit groups in Canada’s rural communities who have projects that enrich residents’ lives or contribute to sustainability.

Do you have a project like this? To see past projects, or to apply, visit FCCAgriSpiritFund.ca.

AgriSpirit in action

Learn how the Lethbridge Interfaith Foodbank use their kitchen programs to build community.

Read the story