Volunteer Transportation Center gets support from Excellus Program helps residents across North Country, including Lewis County, get to crucial appointments

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WATERTOWN — The Volunteer Transportation Center Foundation, Inc. has received a $5,000 sponsorship from Excellus BlueCross BlueShield in support of the services provided to people in the community facing transportation barriers. This marks the third year in a row the health plan has provided funding to support the mission of the Volunteer Transportation Center.

“Once again, we are thankful to Excellus BlueCross BlueShield beyond words,” said VTC Foundation Director Jeremiah S. Papineau. “We appreciate how they find the value in supporting our mission and recognizing the importance of the work our volunteers do here in the North Country.”

Papineau went on to say the funding is even more important as the world continues to navigate its way through the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The VTC, like many other nonprofit organizations, has seen increased challenges over the past two years,” he said.

“Receiving funding from organizations like Excellus BlueCross BlueShield helps to relieve some of the pressure created by an inability to host fundraisers in the traditional way,” the foundation director said.

Papineau noted that the grant funding will be used to reimburse volunteer drivers for the trips they provide to those in the community who would otherwise not have transportation to crucial appointments — such as doctor’s visits.

“We are proud to support Volunteer Transportation Center, Inc. in their mission to provide vital transportation services to residents in need,” said Eve Van de Wal, Excellus BCBS Utica regional president.

“Removing transportation barriers can improve continuity of care by helping individuals keep their medical appointments, leading to better health and wellbeing,” she added.

Van de Wal went on to say Excellus BlueCross BlueShield is committed to supporting local organizations that improve community health. The company’s corporate giving follows all applicable laws and regulations and does not support funding organizations that conflict with its corporate mission, goals, policies or products.

“We cannot thank Excellus BlueCross BlueShield enough for their continued support. It truly helps make our mission possible,” said Papineau, who noted the funding from the health plan will be recognized with Underwriter Level sponsorship of all VTC events this year and will benefit services provided by the organization across Jefferson, Lewis and St. Lawrence counties.

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