While COVID-19 may require us to observe social distancing, it has also taught us the importance of helping each other. While more families are seeking help due to the pandemic, there are just as many who want to give to those in need. Valley Metro is no exception. Every year, Valley Metro employees band together and give back to the communities we serve in various ways. As early as 2003, we have stocked food banks, supported students in need and assisted neighborhood cleanups. For the most recent holidays, we supported Wilson Elementary School, UMOM and Ajo Transportation.
One activity that is an employee favorite is participating in the Adopt-a-Class program at Wilson. In the most recent donation drive, employees could make a monetary donation or sponsor a gift for a student. Along with a gift, each child received a snack bag. On the day of the gift delivery, Santa arrived, along with Valley Metro staff to help deliver and distribute presents. The students showed their appreciation by writing and sending thank you notes to Santa and his helpers.
Every year, Valley Metro also donates funds to a select charity. In the past, we have worked with United Way, Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, and the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. This year our selected charity was UMOM. UMOM’s mission is to prevent and end homelessness with innovative strategies and housing solutions that meet the unique needs of each family and individual. UMOM also manages the Safe Place program, which is available for youth in crisis. All Valley Metro buses and light rail stations are considered a Safe Place. Even during a pandemic, Valley Metro employees and contractors raised almost $2,800 for the cause.
“In 2017, after Hurricane Harvey in Houston, Texas, Valley Metro staff quickly came together to help rural transit properties outside of Houston. The South West Transit Association reached out and we answered the call. Unable to return home due to flooding, some drivers at Houston Metro continued to work and were forced to sleep at their bus yards,” said Kristin Roberts, Communications Assistant and Valley Metro Activity Committee member.
Ajo Transportation, a bus contracting company that provides services between Ajo, Gila, Bend, Buckeye, Goodyear, Avondale and west Phoenix, was also in need of assistance this year. The owner, Cathy Hutton, was providing school and daycare for her employees’ children because schools closed due to Covid-19. She also provided Internet services and study areas for them. Valley Metro employees heard her story and reached out to help. Donations from Valley Metro staff allowed the purchase of cleaning supplies, paper goods and snacks for the Ajo Transportation employees and their kids.
“Serving the community is a very important part of what we do each day,” said Roberts. “We want to make a positive impact, whether it’s delivering people to important destinations or getting the basics to those in need.”