Staff Q&A: Garber Transportation Supervisor Alex Botvinnik

What is Garber Transportation?

Jacob Garber Transportation Services is a program that provides rides for clients typically 60+ who reside within a defined service area in Hennepin County. It is a convenient, reliable way for ambulatory adults to get to a doctor’s appointment, friend’s house, grocery store and more. You can learn more about the program here.

How long have you worked at JFCS and have you always worked with this program?

Alex Botvinnik

I have worked with the transportation program at JFCS for 22 years.

How are volunteers involved with Garber Transportation?

We have two types of volunteers with the Garber Transportation program; those who help with the phone line, taking ride reservation calls when we are working in the office, and those who supplement our staff drivers by providing rides for the clients. This program has new volunteers who have started with us in the last year or two, and we are lucky to have some long-standing volunteers as well who have been volunteering with the transportation program for over 15 years.

What is your favorite part about your job and working with volunteers?

My favorite part of working with the Garber Transportation program is helping people who lost the ability to drive. It is a great feeling to work with volunteers who are dedicated to help.

What are some things you have heard from Garber volunteers about their experiences with the program?

We hear from Garber clients who are very happy riding with the volunteers and we hear from the volunteers who say they love what they do. Last summer, we hosted a volunteer appreciation lunch for Garber volunteers and heard the following feedback from a few of our volunteers:

“It is nice to have a connection with the callers. Some are regulars and even though we don’t know them personally, it’s always nice to hear that they are doing well. Some need to talk, and if it’s a slow day, I think they appreciate our listening and feeling that someone cares about them.”

“I have had good conversations with the clients and enjoy talking to them about their past work experiences and families.”

“I think both the client and driver get a lot of satisfaction from this program.”

Anything else you want to add?

Our volunteer needs for Garber have been limited during COVID-19, as we haven’t been working in the office and staff drivers have been able to accommodate the requests for rides. In addition to driving JFCS clients, Garber staff drivers are currently providing PRISM food deliveries for those in our servicing area who have a transportation barrier for getting to PRISM on their own. We are excited that ridership is going up again and we anticipate having opportunities for our volunteer drivers.

For more information on Garber Transportation, click here.