A typical Samaritan’s Carriage outing proceeds as follows:
Six volunteers (preferably three men and three women--couples work out extremely well) arrive at the bus at 9:30 am. A short devotional is shared and prayer is offered. We thank God for the opportunity to minister in His name and ask for traveling mercies. We proceed to the care facility being serviced that day. Upon arrival at the care facility around 10:00 am, each guest is warmly greeted by the volunteers; name tags are provided for everyone on the trip. To help facilitate safety and care for each guest, the residential facility sends along a staff member on every outing. Guests board the bus, and after each person has been safely seated, the volunteer driver provides a brief description of Samaritan’s Carriage and the plan for the rest of the day. We travel to our destination, attempting to limit travel time to about 20 to 30 minutes, spending about an hour at the chosen destination. Past destinations have included. local attractions such as Meijer Gardens, Fulton Street Market, Rockford Dam, Grand Haven Boardwalk, and many local parks and museums. We also have enjoyed beautiful fall color tours, bowling, tours of local businesses, and visits to private collection museums. A buffet style restaurant (such as Pizza Ranch or Golden Corral) is chosen for the luncheon. This venue allows our guests to personally select their food choices thus avoiding menus, taking individual food orders, unnecessary waiting, etc. Most buffet style restaurants provide ample space for our guests and volunteers to maneuver wheelchairs about and into place. Before entering the restaurant, a prayer is offered to ask God for His blessing on the meal. Volunteers assist each guest with food selections (as needed). This time of fellowship usually involves some great conversations and develops relationships that often extend beyond the hours of the outings. After lunch our guests are returned to their care facility; usually around 2:30 pm. After de-boarding the bus, we say our farewells and thank our guests for refreshing our lives.
Our outings have taken place at locations such as Meijer Gardens, Fulton Street Market, the Rockford Dam, the Grand Haven Boardwalk, and to numerous museums in downtown Grand Rapids!