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Friendly Rider adds food to its transport list

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Friendly Rider buses serve the cities of Wadena and Staples in addition to locations throughout Wadena, Northern Todd and portions of Otter Tail counties. Image courtesy Friendly Rider website
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Friendly Rider has received notification that they are able to help bring food to those in need during the COVID-19 pandemic in and out of their typical service area.

"We request that Friendly Rider pick up the food items and drop them off at your front door respecting the social distance suggestion of 6 feet at this time," a Friendly Rider news release stated.

Wadena County Transit Director Randy Jahnke said the Minnesota Department of Transportation gave transit agencies the ability to transport food during this time of need. That can include prepared meals like those in the Meals on Wheels program. They will start that delivery next week. It can also include the delivery of grocery goods to those in need. This service is free of charge, Jahnke said.

Jahnke said this food delivery was prompted by the fact that COVID-19 affects those within the age demographic that typically would be delivering these meals -- older adults. Knowing that those receiving the meals are also in the demographic that should not be gathering, and considering other dine in options within restaurants are no longer optional, the need for this delivery is as important as ever.

As of Wednesday, March 18, the transit authority was also continuing transport of people. Jahnke said that continues unless MnDOT takes away their ability. Operations have changed in recent days.

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"Our ridership has decreased and we've increased cleaning of all the inside of our buses," Jahnke said. As people become less mobile for the unforeseen future, the transit authority moves into more of a service role. Jahnke is hopeful many people will take advantage of this new service, while respecting a certain distance with those staff making deliveries.

For the time, they realize many people still need to get to work, to the doctor, to continue life as normal as possible.

Call 218-631-5730 for more information or to schedule a pick up. They will ask for your location and then schedule a delivery time for you. If items need assistance they have aides that are ready to help out.

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