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The donors: Lorna Kay, Janet Kay, Bob Atkinson and dozens of volunteer drivers

The gift: Helping launch and expand Church Community Volunteers

When Church Community Volunteers launched more than 50 years ago to drive elderly people to medical appointments in Mississauga, Lorna Kay was among the first drivers.

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Lorna, now 84, is still a volunteer and, a few years ago, her daughter, Janet Kay, and son-in-law, Bob Atkinson, joined as well. Janet also became a board member, along with Mr. Atkinson, who is now president.

The charity provides free rides for dozens of people around southwest Mississauga and demand for the service has gone beyond the elderly. “We serve a lot of elderly people, but also people living on their own or not capable of driving, or who don’t have family to help,” said Janet, 53, who is a real estate agent. Her husband added: “If you’re stuck and you have no way to get to an important medical appointment, what do you do? Sometimes you don’t go.”

The charity relies on financial support from a group of local churches and operates with close to 40 volunteer drivers. It was founded by a group of mothers who ran it largely during the school year. Janet and Mr. Atkinson hope to expand it into a year-round service. While they have been involved for about three years, some volunteers have been active for decades. “We are simply carrying on the torch,” Janet said.

“It’s a great cause where there’s an obvious need,” said Mr. Atkinson, 60, who is semi-retired and previously worked in banking. “Most of these people are invisible in the community.” One of the drivers recently received a note from a woman who’d been given a lift. “I really appreciate this help,” the note said. “It will change my life.”

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