From CEOs and mayors to nonprofit professionals, more than 30 top community leaders joined together to support the launch of Easy Lift Transportation’s Freedom Circle campaign.

“I was personally very humbled by the outpouring of support from the who’s who of Santa Barbara,” said Ernesto Paredes, Easy Lift’s executive director. “Each person took time out of their hectic schedules to participate, and we appreciate it very, very much.”

The Freedom Circle campaign is being conducted this September and is meant to raise awareness about Easy Lift’s vital work in the community while also raising funds to support its mission. The organization is asking people to join the Freedom Circle by making an annual donation of any amount and learning more about its work.

“People need to know that Easy Lift depends on donations so no one who needs a ride is turned away,” Paredes said. “It’s a lifesaving service.”

The name Freedom Circle was chosen because without transportation, frail seniors and people with disabilities would not have the freedom to live full, productive lives. Passengers use Easy Lift for medical appointments, grocery shopping, personal care appointments, banking, social functions, entertainment, school and work.

“I remember the last time my car was in the shop for three days,” said Melinda Johansson, Easy Lift’s development director. “I about went nuts. I can’t imagine being stuck at home, not being able to use the bus and having to depend on family, friends or neighbors for rides. It can become quite debilitating emotionally.”

In fact, the World Health Organization found that social isolation and exclusion are associated with increased rates of premature death, lower general well-being, more depression and a higher level of disability from chronic diseases.

To join Easy Lift’s Freedom Circle, click here or call 805.845.8963.

— Melinda Johansson is the development director  for Easy Lift Transportation.