Saturday, January 7, 2012

Human Solutions

Holiday Fare is donating 10 books of tickets, along with 100 all-day tickets, to shelters run by Human Solutions.

Annie at Human Solutions says:

At the Winter Shelter we do provide a few bus tickets a day to each family, though this year we have had more homeless families in our shelter than the last 3 years, it will be very tight to keep up with this pace. The last three years we had less than 60 people in our shelter, but this year we’ve gotten up to 94 one night and on average it has been over 70 people/night. At the Daybreak Shelter, we have a very small budget for bus tickets as well.

Please visit their website and see what you can do to help. No one should go through winter homeless and cold.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

The next step

The holidays are winding down, and it feels like a natural time to take stock of the Holiday Fare project and decide where to go from here.

I'll post an update of the numbers in the next day or so. Suffice it to say that the response has been overwhelming. Your donations have made it possible for people in need to get where they need to go. One thing is for certain - I will continue to accept donations of transit tickets, and I will continue to distribute them to those in need.

So, rest assured that the project will continue, in some form. What I've learned, though, is that there is a surprising lack of connection between the huge need for transit help and those who are willing to help fill that gap. I've been stunned by the level of need, and equally surprised that there really aren't many people currently trying to address that need.

What I'll be doing, for now, is trying to assess the nature of that need, and figuring out what my role is in all of this. I've had generous offers of help in this effort, and I'm very open to additional offers of assistance. If you'd like to help with anything, please let me know by dropping me a line at If you'd like to donate transit tickets as we continue trying to bridge the current gap, here's how to donate.

As I think about what's coming up next for Holiday Fare, it's clear to me that I'm hooked - the satisfaction of doing even a little bit to help people get to where they need to go is a very powerful reward, and I'm very passionate about continuing to help. If you are, too, please get in touch.

As always, thank you. As you look back on 2011, take a minute to take some pride in what you've done to help people out. And,reflect about what you can do from here forward. The need is there. It's just a matter of figuring out where we all fit as we work to meet the need.

Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Bradley Angle House is next

Our next recipient is Bradley Angle House. Bradley Angle was the first domestic violence shelter on the west coast, and today provides an amazing range of services to those in need. Please visit the website to learn more about what the folks at Bradley Angle do, and to learn more about other ways you can help.

Becca from Bradley Angle says:
As you've been hearing from other organizations, transportation is at the top of the list of barriers our participants face. Participants need transportation to find permanent housing, access resources, go to interviews, job training, counseling sessions, medical or legal appointments, court dates, and acquire clothing and personal care items for themselves and their children. Pretty much everything that someone needs to take action to change their lives and develop self-sufficiency requires transportation! So really, what your project is talking about, and what we're doing every day, is about movement--literally (bus tickets) and figuratively (empowerment and self-sufficiency). The majority of our participants arrive at our programs with few belongings and little to no finances. They do not have the resources to purchase bus tickets needed to make the trips necessary for them to acquire services and goods to help them move forward in their lives. By having access to public transportation participants are taking back control, and taking back their lives.

Look at the wish list - bus tickets. Or, gift cards, in part because they can be used to buy bus tickets. Before I started this project, I had absolutely no idea how deep the need is for transportation. It's becoming more and more clear that more help is needed. Please consider donating transit tickets. Here's how.

Ten books of transit tickets, 100 rides, are on their way to Bradley Angle house. So many more are needed. Keep those donations coming! And, thank you!

Monday, December 19, 2011

NW Pilot Project is next in line for tickets!

The Northwest Pilot Project "prevents and ends homelessness for very low income and disabled seniors with holistic services that both stabilize vulnerable housing situations and address the root cause of homelessness." Much-needed work, and it turns out that transit tickets are much-needed by the agency. Rebecca, Housing Program Manager for NWPP writes:

Donated Honored Citizen tickets would be a great help to our clients! Our organization purchases tickets to help very low-income seniors get to medical appointments but we run out before the end of the month every month.

Ten books of Honored Citizen tickets are on the way to Northwest Pilot Project, thanks to all of you who have donated. If you have yet to donate, or would like to send the link to a friend, here's how to do so.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Family Bridge Homeless Shelter is next

As the donations keep coming in, the need increases. Here's a letter from our latest recipient.

Our families are have extremely low income --usually consisting of only TANF and food assistance. When funds allow we purchase TriMet tickets and gas cards (if they are lucky enough to have a vehicle) to help families get to and from work, seek employment and participate in activities to help them become self-sufficient. I am hopeful that you could sponsor the Family Bridge Shelter Program so we might become recipients and receive transportation assistance.
- Annie, Executive Director, Family Bridge

We'll be giving ten books of tickets (100 rides for people in need. Good job folks) to Family Bridge.

So, to date:
-Yolanda House
-Outside In
-The Inn Independent Living Center
-VOA Family Relief Nursery
-Family Bridge Shelter

I'll be selecting several more recipients in the next week. If you know a program in need, let me know.

And, as always, should you feel like making a donation, here's how!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

VOA's Family Relief Nursery is our next recipient

The next donation for the Holiday Fare project is 15 books of tickets to VOA's Family Relief Nursery.

Here's how Katie from FRN describes the need:
The Family Relief Nursery is an intervention/prevention program for families with children six weeks to five years old. We work to strengthen fragile families at serious risk of abusing or neglecting their children or of permanently losing custody of their children. The Nursery offers a holistic, positive intervention with both children and parents. All services are provided at no charge to families. The FRN now serves up to 90 families per year.

One of the barriers our families face is transportation. We do have a small school bus that picks kids up and drops them off each day, but the bus can only accommodate so many children. Many times a family will remain on our waitlist until a bus and a classroom spot are both open. When possible, we do provide bus tickets to our families so they can utilize public transportation to bring their children to and from FRN. As well, bus tickets are especially helpful when we have Family Nights or Open Houses at FRN. For parents whose kids are picked up by the FRN bus (and do not have a car themselves) they often never get to see where their kids go each day. The Family Nights and Open Houses are a time when the parents can come by and see the site and meet their children’s teachers (we do home visiting as well with most of our families, so they are intimately involved with our interventionists otherwise). Bus tickets are also sometimes used to allow our families to go out to VOA’s resale store, so they can pick up clothing or other items for their children (we provide them with vouchers for the resale store).

In the past, we have been able to provide bus tickets to our families, as needed. Unfortunately this year, we with downturn in the economy, one of our funders had us cut our budget by 4.5% and another funder cut our budget by 12%. In order to maintain our level of services, and because the State requires us to have so much direct service personnel per child, one of the things we had to cut this year was direct client assistance funds, which includes items like bus tickets.

Sorry for the long quote, but I couldn't find anything to leave out. Again, the need is so great. I wish we could give more to this program and all the others that we've helped so far. The only way we can do that is if more of you donate. Here's how!

Please spread the word and post this link everywhere, including those things where you make a sign out of a piece of printer paper and then let people tear little pieces off the bottom. :) Facebook, Twitter, and blanketing everyone in the world with emails works, too! Thanks!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Next recipient - The Inn ILP

The next ten books of tickets are going to The Inn ILP (Independent Living Program). Marni, the Inn's Program Director, tells it better than I ever could:

Like other marginalized populations, transportation is a huge barrier to these young people getting to school, getting jobs, getting to counseling appointments, etc. Some of our youth who are still in state care do get monthly passes from DHS, but there are often barriers to get the passes from their workers and they have to be deamed "productive" by DHS supervisor. This means they are working and/or are in school. Those youth who are looking for work or trying to get into school, do not qualify as "productive". Other youth have already been emancipated by DHS so they can't get passes either. A few of our youth qualify as Honored Citizens, but not many and sadly even some of those youth find that label not worth the discount they get. I buy bus passes a couple times a month with our petty cash and hand 1-3 tickets out to youth who are at our office and ask for them, but it isn't enough and the small budget of our non-profit is already stretched (as I am sure you can imagine). Bus ticket donations would be a big help to these youth who are trying to beat the odds.

Programs like this are in such need. Ten books of tickets is just a drop in the bucket, but it's a start. Thanks to all of you who have donated. If you have yet to donate, here's how. And, if you'd like to help any of the individual programs Holiday Fare has helped, I'd be happy to put you in touch with the right folks.

If you've given already, you can continue to help by spreading the word about Holiday Fare, and linking them back to the Holiday Fare blog.