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.


Tuesday, December 6, 2011

A letter from a contributor

Sometimes, along with their contribution of transit tickets, people include letters. This one is lovely, and I wanted you all to read it, because it is about all of you who have contributed:
Thank you for all you've done to help those in need.

I gave up my car three years ago and haven't missed it a bit. I love public transportation and the extra time it allows me to catch up on good reading - not to mention people watching!

By using and supporting public transportation, I'm hoping to influence its future improvements and extensions. Again, thank you for helping those in need get mobilized and independent.

God bless you,

As I said, this is to YOU, contributors. You're doing a great thing here! Let's keep going, through the holiday season. Please send your friends and neighbors here if they'd like to help. Here's how to donate.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

The big update!

First, some context. When I started Holiday Fare, I didn't even have a name for it. All I wanted to do was get a few Twitter friends to chip in and put a tiny little drop in the huge bucket of transit need that exists out there.

My initial, oh-so-ambitious goal was 20 books of tickets. That's almost 500 dollars worth of tickets, I reasoned, and wouldn't that be an amazing thing to do?

Word got out. Friends told friends, bloggers blogged, podcasters podcasted, and momentum picked up a bit. Then came the Joe Rose Effect - a column in the Oregonian! Joe has since joked that if he ever starts a band, he'll call it that - The Joe Rose Effect. Joe's column was shared on Facebook over 275 times (tip - there's a little Facebook share icon at the bottom of this post. My feelings won't be hurt if you use it!). A few of the donations in the mail have contained tickets and a clipping of that column.

So, the cool news - at this point Holiday Fare has collected over ONE HUNDRED books of tickets, and a pile of loose tickets, everything from one-zone tickets to more than 60 all-day, all-zone passes. This bounty adds up to over THREE THOUSAND DOLLARS worth of fares collected.


That's so amazing! I really never thought I'd hit that 20-book goal. You people are awesome, and we're not done yet. Now it's time to really push, with the holidays so close.

I've committed 45 of those books of tickets, and I'm working on getting more out the door. The need is endless. Please give if you can, and spread the word however you know how.

Awesome job so far! Here's how to donate.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Donation incentives from ArrivalTracker!

Tim at Arrival Tracker has generously offered a free ArrivalTracker app to the next five people who donate a book of tickets to Holiday Fare! ArrivalTracker is an iPhone app for showing TriMet bus and train arrival predictions wrapped in a beautiful interface. The first five people who email me letting me know that there's a donation on the way will get an activation code as a thank you from HolidayFare and ArrivalTracker.

My email is, and here's how to donate!

Thanks Tim! And thanks to all of you for donating and for spreading the word.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

HomePlate Youth Services is next on the list

I've just committed 15 books of transit tickets to HomePlate Youth Services, an organization working with homeless and housing-unstable youth. Thanks to your donations, that's 150 rides headed their way.

UPDATE: Here's what Terra of HomePlate has to say: 150 tickets? That's amazing! Thank you so, so very much. I'm sure you can imagine how helpful that is for us! There are very few moments in my work with HomePlate that I actually say gasp out-loud from joy (:

Every night we hold drop in we give away bus tickets so our youth can get home safely. Some walk in with no coat, bright red cheeks and a shiver after walking to come to drop-in. By providing them tickets (and a hot meal and a coat) we are sure they can make it to their next destination (which is sometimes an apartment, sometimes a friends' couch, and sometimes to a camp outdoors) feeling warmer and cared for. You have made this journey possible for 150 safe, warm nights! Thank you!

Donors - you rock.

It continues to amaze me how many social service groups have bus tickets at the top of their wish lists. As I've said before, we could collect a million tickets and there would still be need for more.

Thanks for all that you've done for this project so far. I'll make an announcement this weekend about how well we're doing, and how much more I'd like to collect, so stay tuned for that!

If you've yet to donate, or you'd like to share the link with others, here's how to do so.

Friday, November 25, 2011

More publicity! More tickets! More love!

Happy day-after-Thanksgiving, everyone!

Holiday Fare was featured on KGW-TV's "Live @ 7" tonight!

I'm on the new Portland Afoot podcast!

My fiancée and I threw an "orphan dinner party" yesterday afternoon for friends who weren't able to travel to see family. It's an annual tradition. Yesterday brought a new wrinkle, though... guests brought books of transit tickets! I guess I need to accept that I really am "That Transit Guy."

The mail continues to bring lots of tickets every day. Yolanda house is getting 20 books of tickets, instead of the ten I'd originally planned, because the need is so great and you all have given me the means to step up our donation. Great work, philanthropists!

Here's the "how to donate" page. And, if you can't donate this year, just spread the word. The more people know about this, the more tickets we collect - and the more free rides people receive.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Tickets are pouring in! And walking in!

I had a wonderful experience this morning - I was called out of a staff meeting. Usually, that means I've got a client in crisis who needs to be seen immediately. Today, though, it meant something else entirely. A woman was standing in the waiting room, three books of bus tickets in hand. She told me a little bit about her family, and how she had kids who took the bus and she couldn't imagine someone being unable to get around. She handed me the tickets and told me that she appreciated what I was doing.

I told her that SHE was doing it. All I've done is put an idea to work. You all are doing the rest. The idea is about love and caring, and ideas about love can't miss. She handed those tickets over with love for her fellow humans, even though she had no idea who she was helping.

I got a text from my fiancee when I was on the MAX on my way home - "You have 17 Holiday Fare envelopes waiting for you." Amazing. Counting up just today's donations was so much fun - over 15 books of tickets and FIFTY all day passes.

And tomorrow's mail will bring more. As I said to Joe Rose of the Oregonian, there's no end to the need. I will easily be able to give away every single ticket I get from all of you. And there will be more need after that.

Here's how to donate. Please share this link with your friends and neighbors. Giving is easy, and it makes such a huge difference to people in your community.

Thanks! I'll keep you updated!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

That Transit Guy

Yesterday's Oregonian story from my friend Joe Rose has had an amazing impact on the Holiday Fare project. I even got recognized at a buddy's fundraising event last night - "hey, uh, I feel weird asking this, but are you that transit guy?"

So, I guess I'm That Transit Guy now. Works for me.

I've had offers to build a website (yeah, that might be nice!), help with tax stuff if I decide to keep doing this (yeah, I probably will) and amazing letters of support and offers of generous donations. It seems that the concept of helping people with as basic a need as transportation has struck a chord in a lot of people in Portland and beyond.

We've shot past the milestone of ten ticket books, so I'm working with Ashley from Yolanda House to get those tickets to them. FANTASTIC! When I started this thing, I set an informal goal of 20 ticket books. I have a feeling I'm going to exceed that one. :)

All of this is to say thank you so much for what you've done so far. And, if you'd like to help, here's how to donate. If you can't donate, please share the link with people.

And if you see me on the MAX, please say hello. :)

Friday, November 18, 2011

Yay! Oregonian story is up!

Here's Joe Rose's lovely story about the ticket drive, and about yours truly and my crazy-epic commute. He rode all the way out to Forest Grove with me. Talk about intrepid reporting! :)

Wednesday, November 16, 2011


Joe Rose, AKA @pdxcommute on Twitter, AKA the "Hard Drive" guy for the Oregonian, rode with me on my commute yesterday. He's going to profile me in his column in this coming Saturday's Oregonian - I'll be sure to link it when it hits the stands (and the nets). I'm excited to get more exposure for the Holiday Fare project!

In the meantime, take a few minutes, log in to, and send a book of transit tickets! Here's how to donate.

I'm getting realllllllly close to being able to give tickets to Yolanda House. Maybe your donation will put me over the top!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Picking up momentum!

I've really been looking forward to getting my mail these days... each delivery brings more books of transit tickets! We're almost up to our first ten, which means it's almost time to donate to Yolanda House. What a wonderful thing! That's over two hundred dollars in bus and train rides that YOU are helping make available. Please help us get over the top - here's how to donate.

Another way that you can help is by clicking the Facebook, Twitter, and G+ links at the bottom of this post. Getting the word out is so important to collecting as many rides as possible!

Thank you so much for all your help so far. Stay tuned!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Where are the tickets going? Part two

I'm happy to announce that the second ten books of tickets will be going to Outside In to support their work with homeless and marginalized youth.

Please continue to spread the word. Here's how to donate! Several people have told me that ordering through is easy and fast!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Where are the tickets going? Part One.

Running a one-person "charity" is an interesting experience. One of the high points is unilateral decision-making, with no board of directors full of business types to muck things up.

I've decided that the first ten books of tickets, if I get that many, will go to Yolanda House, a domestic violence shelter. Read the link - it looks like a pretty amazing place. As a therapist, I've worked with some incredibly courageous domestic violence survivors. With your help, this first donation will honor them.

Oh, and check out the list of needed items on their site. Bus tickets are their second most needed item, right after toilet paper.

What I'm saying, folks, is that it's not a bad idea to buy some extra TP on your next shopping trip and drop it off at the Y downtown!

Here's how to make a ticket donation.

If you've got an idea for the next ten books of tickets, especially if it's somewhere you've got some personal experience with, please let me know at

Thank you!

Friday, November 4, 2011

How to make a donation

Someone has graciously kicked off Holiday Fare with a generous donation of five books of transit tickets, so I've decided to just GET STARTED. I know momentum when I see it!

Here's how to donate:

- Trimet's web site has a list of places to buy tickets. Many grocery stores carry transit tickets, as do some workplaces. You can get them at TriMet's Pioneer Courthouse Square location, too. You can also buy books of tickets online and have them mailed directly from Trimet.

- Once you get your hands on a book of tickets (if you're new at this, just ask for "a book of adult fare tickets"), all that's left is to send them my way! Mail them to Holiday Fare, c/o Jeff Guardalabene, 1130 NE 108th Ave., Portland 97220. I'm even willing to come by and pick them up if that's the only way you're going to give them, but don't expect same-day service on that one. :)

- I will post updates on how we're doing. Honestly, my expectations are low. I will be tickled just to help a few people out at holiday time.

- If you represent an organization or group that needs tickets, please let me know. As I give tickets away, I will post about that, too. The only way this is going to work is by being as transparent as possible. As I said in a previous post, I'm really hoping to NOT complicate this - you mail me the tickets, I figure out who needs them, everyone's happy.

- If you're worried about the process, or if you feel that this is not "above board" somehow, PLEASE DO NOT DONATE. I can't stress this enough. This process is about one guy collecting some tickets and giving them to some other people. If that's not the kind of process you need to make you feel okay about your donation, then please find one of the zillions of other worthy causes out there, and more power to you!

- I'm not going to set a goal. Let's just do this with gratitude and love and see where it takes us. Give if you can, spread the word if nothing else, and let's help a few people get some rides.

- Thanks!


I've been blogging for a long time - first with LiveJournal, and then on to other venues. My main blog, Doc Blog, is all about psychology and therapy. I also write about transit as a contributor to the most excellent TriMet Diaries site.

A while ago, I started live-tweeting my lengthy commute on public transit, as @doctor_jeff. Through a few quirks of fate, I've become a bit of a transit pundit. Strange as it may sound, I have grown to love that role, and would like to use my voice to do some good.

In my travels on TriMet, I see lots of folks who aren't as lucky as me. I've got a subsidized annual pass, a full time job, and a car if I need to get somewhere in a hurry. Lots of the people I share a ride with have none of those things. While a transit fare is not that big a deal to me, for some people it's the difference between getting to the job site (or high school!) or just having to stay home.

It's obviously a huge problem, and I'm not going to pretend that I'll be able to make much of a dent. I'd like to do SOMETHING, though. So, here's the deal. I'd like to collect books of transit tickets and distribute them. The distribution part should be easy - I have connections with SUN schools and should have no problem getting the tickets into the hands of people who need them.

Collecting is a different story. I'd like to do this so there's no cash involved - I want to simply collect books of ten transit tickets. My plan at this point is to just have people buy them and send them to me in the mail. You can get them at most grocery stores, or you can order online at and have them mailed.

I'll work out the details as I go. What I DON'T want this to become is COMPLICATED. I'm starting really small scale this year, and if we get some interest I'll increase the effort next year. I just wanted to get a post up for you folks to see, and open it up to comments and suggestions. I guess we'll start collecting bus tickets around Thanksgiving time.

Let me know what you think!