LAWTON, OK (KSWO) -Getting to the Lawton Food Bank will be a little bit easier thanks to a change in routes by the Lawton Area Transit System.
On Monday, an eight-week trial bus service will begin that will add a stop at the corner of Southwest Wolf Street and Sheridan Road, right in front of the Lawton Food Bank. At this point, only one bus will be making that stop.
According to the Lawton Food Bank, 54 percent of the people who receive their help have no form of transportation of their own. This bus stop means they can get the food they need without having to ride a bike or ask for help from a neighbor.
Mary Jay says she has been getting assistance from the Lawton Food Bank for about a year. She says she has to call a taxi to get there and back home, but soon that will be a thing of the past.
"When she first told me inside. I said, 'Oh, I'll go for this.' It's real good if you don't drive, you know, and you don't want to get a taxi and you just get on the bus! Don't be afraid to jump on the bus," Mary Jay said.
Jeri Mosiman, the executive director of the Lawton Food Bank, says they aren't doing the people they help any favors if they are giving them food and they are in danger just getting it home.
"This is a wonderful service. Before, the closest bus stop was only four blocks away, but this is a two lane road here on Sheridan without sidewalks and we give enough food to last at least 10 days. That's a lot of food to try to take that far walking in the street," Mosiman said.
The new LATS stop will directly correlate with the hours the food bank is open, which includes a special day each month for senior citizens.
"We do have a few that walk and I don't know how they do that. The box of food weighs about 40 pounds. In addition, we give them some produce as well a bag of potatoes or apples or oranges and how do they do that? These are senior citizens. How do they do that? How do they get that home," Mosiman asked.
Ryan Landers, the general manager for LATS, says through talks with the City Council and the Lawton Food Bank over the last two months, they have been planning this route to better serve their customers.
"You know, we started looking into it a little bit more and we got a lot of feedback from customers and we just decided to make this happen. The bus service is here for the community and we want to make sure that we go everywhere that the community wants us to go to and this was a no brainer," Landers said.
Landers says if they build up enough interest over the trial period, they hope to make the route permanent for their customers. Bus fare will remain the same for this trial route.
The bus will stop at 53 minutes past the hour during the food bank's regular weekday hours.
The Blue Counterclockwise bus will be the only bus on the deviated route and will follow this schedule:
Monday, Wednesday and Friday
8 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Tuesday and Thursday
Noon to 6 p.m.
Third Thursday of the month
8 a.m. to 6 p.m.