The evening celebration – a tradition that dates back a number of years – is used as a way of saying “thank you” to the many people, especially the volunteer drivers, who contribute to the program throughout the year.
The service operates entirely through donations under the guidance of a volunteer board of directors, of which Rick Nicholson is the president.
The program benefits from the assistance of more than 30 local volunteer drivers who typically agree to operate the van for one-week time periods. (Some drivers, however, serve multiple weeks.)
The Courtesy Van fields hundreds of calls each month from people looking to complete everyday tasks such as visiting the local hospital or traveling to the grocery store.
Because it is a charitable effort, volunteers can’t charge users for the service, although customers are asked to make a minimal $1 donation for each trip.
The Courtesy Van is believed to be the only service of its kind in Canada.
For many seniors living in Shaunavon, the van is their only option when it comes to getting around town.
The service runs all year round, no matter what weather conditions are like. In fact, the van is used more often during harsher seasonal climates. When winter rolls around, business picks up.
The van is available Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., except on holidays. There is also the occasional day during the year when the van is unavailable while being serviced.
The program continues to receive record amounts of calls each year, boosted in part by an aging population.