When 94-year-old Stuart Bernard moved from Westport to Meadow Ridge, he no longer needed his car.
But after 40 years here, he wasn’t about to stop serving his community. So instead of simply selling his 2001 Subaru Legacy — in excellent condition, with just 74,000 miles — he donated it to a good cause.
A perfect cause, in fact.
ITN Coastal — the 24/7 driving service for seniors, and adults with visual impairments — is the proud recipient of Stuart’s Subaru. It’s a win-win-win: He gets a tax writeoff. ITN adds another vehicle to their fleet. And hundreds of people in Westport and surrounding towns get another opportunity to be driven to doctor’s appointments, shopping, the opera, or even — this actually happens — mah jongg games.
This is the 3rd car donated to ITN Coastal. (One was too damaged to use; it was sold, with proceeds going toward program operating costs.) The fleet is used by the 3 paid drivers.
The vast majority of drivers are volunteers. They use their own cars, and are given “credits” good for their own future use, for transfer to a loved one, or to be donated to the Road Scholarship Program for low-income riders.
In just 2 years, ITN Coastal has provided over 5,500 rides to 120 members. Membership costs $65 a year. Rides are $3.50 for pickup, and $1.50 per mile. Reservations should be made by 3:30 p.m. the day before, though some weekday same-day rides are available.
Nearly half of all ITN Coastal members come from Westport. The rest are in Weston, Fairfield and Norwalk.
It’s a great program, as Stuart Bernard well knows.
His son knows it too. To go along with his father’s Subaru, Kent Bernard donated a new set of tires.