Want a ride? VPAS offering van trips to Harrisonburg and back

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ELKTON – For Elkton-area seniors ages 60 and older who may have a hard time making the trip from the town to Harrisonburg, the Valley Program for Aging Services is hoping to offer a solution.

The regional organization, which provides numerous services for seniors, including the East Rockingham Senior Center, wants to offer twice-monthly van rides from Elkton to the Harrisonburg Crossing shopping center, which includes WalMart, Best Buy, Home Depot and several restaurants, among other options.

The rides would be offered the first Tuesday of each month (with pickup at 12:30 p.m. and return at 3 p.m.) and the third Wednesday of each month (with pickup at 9 a.m. and return at 11:30 a.m.).

The rides would originate at the Elkton Area Community Center (which houses the East Rockingham Senior Center), but limited pickup could be arranged within the town of Elkton or on the immediate route (along U.S. 33), if completely necessary.

The cost is a suggested $4 a trip and anyone wishing to use the service must be able to shop independently, has to pre-register and must fill out needed paperwork prior to their first trip on the handicapped-accessible van, which can seat 8 to 12 passengers.

A volunteer driver has already been secured for the trips, which will allow local seniors a chance to visit Harrisonburg without worrying about driving, parking or traffic.

“Some of our seniors have limited incomes and can’t spend money on gas,” noted Beth Bland, who is VPAS’ director of senior services for Harrisonburg and Rockingham County. “There are also seniors who may be fine driving in Elkton, but they don’t feel comfortable driving to Harrisonburg.”

The van rides are just another service VPAS and the East Rockingham Senior Center are offering to help older residents in the community.

“Our focus is to be able to help people effectively navigate their aging process and to age in a healthy way,” said Bland.

The senior center, which meets from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. each Monday, Wednesday and Thursday at the Elkton Area Community Center, 20593 Blue and Gold Drive, is just one way VPAS aims to accomplish its goals.

Those attending the senior center are provided lunch, along with the opportunity to participate in crafts, exercises and learn from special programs offered from community members, among many other activities.

“As people age, there tends to be an increase in social isolation,” noted Bland. “The senior center provides an opportunity to get out, exercise and have a nutritious meal.”

“And we have fun,” added Brandy Wade, the East Rockingham Senior Center’s director.

The center also provides meals to those in need in the community. The Elkton center delivers 13 meals daily, while VPAS, as a whole, delivers just under 36,000 meals each year in Harrisonburg and Rockingham County.

With so much need, extra volunteers are always welcome – as are monetary donations, which can be designated for specific communities. Anyone wishing to donate may do so through VPAS website, at, or by mailing a check to 975 S. High St., Harrisonburg, VA 22801.

Those wanting to take advantage of the Elkton-to-Harrisonburg Crossing van trips may register by calling Dawn Shull, VPAS’ transportation coordinator, at 383-6855 or by emailing her at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

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