EARL Transit featured at "Lunch and Learn"

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EARL Public Transit is a program of Northeast Iowa Community Action Corporation (NEICAC) serving Clayton, Allamakee, Fayette, Howard, and Winneshiek counties in the Northeast corner of the state. From left are Julie Moore, Tracy Kregel, Kari Harbaugh, Sarah Moser, Lynn Bockenstedt and Lori Egan. (Press photo by Caroline Rosacker)

By Caroline Rosacker 

The Guttenberg Municipal Hospital and Clinics (GMHC) Family Resource Center is holding a series of "Lunch and Learn" workshops on the first Thursday of each month. 

The informational programs are being held in the education room at GMHC, 200 Main Street.

Once a month area agencies will provide information on services available to Clayton County residents. 

The Family Resource Center focuses on health and wellness, safety, food insecurity, transportation, housing and mental health and substance abuse.  They offer a variety of programs designed to protect and support children and at-risk individuals and build upon family strengths. 

EARL Public Transit

EARL Public Transit is a program of Northeast Iowa Community Action Corporation (NEICAC). EARL, which stands for Easy, Affordable, Reliable and Life-changing, is the public transit provider under the Iowa DOT for Clayton, Allamakee, Fayette, Howard, and Winneshiek counties in the Northeast corner of the state. 

Lori Egan, CCAP Transportation director, shared these statistics: "There are 40 million people living in poverty in this nation. Many are living one paycheck away from critical financial situations. The cost of owning, insuring and maintaining a vehicle can be burden on a tight budget. EARL Public Transit can provide safe, reliable transportation at a cost savings to the community." 

All EARL transit services are open to the public, including people with disabilities. Each vehicle is equipped with ADA accessible lifts or ramps.  

Egan continued, "We are proud to offer safe, reliable, public transportation to all citizens, including individuals living in a rural area. For most services, you can be picked up right at your doorstep and transported to wherever you need to go." 

People use EARL services for all kinds of reasons such as rides to work, school, and medical appointments, shopping or to visit family and friends. Egan explained, "EARL Transit services are similar to a city bus, but because of our rural location we are more like a cab service." 

She encouraged, "Give us a call and we will give you a cost quote. If a person is in need of assistance they can bring one person along without an additional cost."

The most affordable rates for a transit rider are in-town destinations. The transportation service regularly travels to LaCrosse, Waterloo, Iowa City and Dubuque for medical appointments or other needs. EARL can also bill through Medicaid agencies. 

Expressing her appreciation, Eagan said, "Our drivers are so dedicated. They love what they do. Thank goodness for their commitment. I can not say enough about the wonderful job they do." 

Job opportunities

NEICAC Transit program is in need of drivers. Interested individuals can apply online or call the NEICAC office for an application. Egan noted, "We love to hire part-time people with flexible schedules." 

She stressed, "I encourage people to utilize this service. Our funding is dependent on usage. If we do not show a need for the program the funding will be stopped and the program will be terminated."

Gift ideas

Looking for the perfect gift? Consider an EARL Transit punch card. "Think how nice it would be to have EARL Transit provide your loved ones with safe, warm, curb-to-curb transportation, and knowing that a trusted individual, dedicated to their job, will make sure they make it to their destination safe and on schedule," she concluded.

For additional information, to apply for a job, or for a transportation schedule and cost estimate, call NEICAC Transit Office toll-free at 1-866-382-4259 or visit them online at www.neicac.org or like them on Facebook.

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