Cape Ann Seniors on the Go Set to Launch in Gloucester
— Reservations Are Now Being Accepted
On Tuesday, October 1st, residents of Gloucester Housing Authority’s Clark, Lincoln, McPherson, Poplar and Sheedy neighborhoods will be provided free transportation to better access healthy food and fitness locations through the Cape Ann Seniors on the Go initiative. Cape Ann Seniors on the Go focuses on creating more access and opportunity for these specific purposes among senior residents as a way to have a positive impact on their health.
Weekly trips will be provided for free on a 16-passenger, ADA-compliant bus branded Cape Ann Seniors on the Go which will be operated by Cape Ann Transit Authority. The trips for senior housing residents will bring riders to locations where they can access healthy food such as grocery stores, The Open Door Food Pantry, Cape Ann Farmers Market and the Rose Baker Senior Center. Residents will be transported to the Gloucester Boulevard for walking and other special activity events will be incorporated.
This initiative grew out of the work of Cape Ann Mass in Motion. The City of Gloucester Health Department serves as a host agent for the Mass in Motion Municipal Wellness and Leadership Initiative, a movement to lower the risk of chronic disease by supporting equitable food access and active living opportunities in cities and towns throughout Massachusetts. The Cape Ann Mass in Motion coalition works on this front advancing access and opportunities in the region. The coalition believes increasing transportation to locations where at-risk seniors may access healthy food and participate in physical activity will lead to positive health impacts.
Karin Carroll, City of Gloucester Public Health Director, said “The Mayor of Gloucester and other Cape Ann municipal leaders are thrilled to be able to now respond to the needs of their seniors by successfully securing funding to provide transportation for older adults of Cape Ann to access fresh food and physical activity. Through a partnership with the Gloucester Health Department’s Mass in Motion grant, we are able to build on the existing work and access key expertise from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health to ensure the grants success. We are excited to work together with our municipal and private partners throughout Cape Ann to improve the health of our seniors.”
The coalition is currently working with the Towns of Rockport, Essex and Manchester-by-the-Sea to implement similar transportation for older adults who live in low income housing in those communities. While the group recognizes transportation needs exist regionally for many purposes, Mass in Motion as a statewide movement is targeted only on the areas of food access and active living which will be the focus of this initiative.
The Gloucester part of this initiative was launched in collaboration with Gloucester Housing Authority, Gloucester Council on Aging, City of Gloucester Health Department and Cape Ann Transit Authority.
Financial support for the initiative has been provided by Addison Gilbert & Beverly Hospital’s Community Collaborative Grant and the Massachusetts Community Compact Initiative.
To reserve a seat on the bus for a trip residents must call (978) 283-7916. There is no charge to residents who use the bus and there is a two bag per person limit on the bus.