Connect Transit Stuffs the Bus for the Holidays
As the holiday season approaches, thoughts often turn to parties, presents and reflection on the year gone by. But for Connect Transit in Bloomington-Normal, Ill., the holidays can mean only one thing: it’s time to Stuff-the-Bus to help children in need!
2012 will mark the 10th year that Connect Transit partners with Children’s Home + Aid to stuff a Connect Transit bus full of supplies for the Crisis Nursery. In emergency situations, when parents are overwhelmed and have nowhere else to turn, the Crisis Nursery is there help them deal with the situation. The Crisis Nursery will provide a safe environment for children aged newborn through six years old and help the parents get through their crisis.
The children arrive at the Crisis Nursery with no food, no toys, no change of clothes and no supplies. That’s where the Connect Transit Stuff-the-Bus event rolls in to help, securing donations that will supply the Crisis Nursery for an entire year.
In early December, Connect Transit parks a bus in front of a different retail location in the Bloomington-Normal area each day for a week to receive donations. Connect Transit employees volunteer their time to promote the event, staff the bus and accept donations from the generous citizens of the community. Local TV and radio media helps out by performing live remotes at the bus each day to let their viewers and listeners know the location of the bus and remind them about the donations needed.
During the week, the bus is packed full of non-perishable food, new clothes, new toys, diapers and other items for use by children during their stay in the Crisis Nursery. Donations are also accepted on every Connect Transit fixed-route bus as well. At the end of the week, the Connect Transit bus makes the trip to the Crisis Nursery to deliver a capacity load of holiday spirit.
Connect transit employees believe in giving back to the community during the holidays. 2011 was the most successful year ever for the Stuff-the-Bus event, bringing in thousands of needed items and even attracting corporate donations to help children in need. And in early December 2012, Connect Transit will be there once again to celebrate the spirit of the holidays and help make Bloomington-Normal a better place for everyone.
Did You Meet Your Sweet on TriMet? A Valentine’s Day Contest Generates Heart-Warming Stories
Some people meet their mates online. Others are introduced to their significant others by a mutual friend. And for some lucky people, they just happened to catch the right bus or train at the right time.
TriMet asked riders to submit their transit-inspired love stories in a contest in which the agency asked: Did you meet your sweet on TriMet?
Twenty-nine couples said yes — sharing in 200 words or less — how they met the one they now call sweetheart on a bus, train or at a bus stop. The stories ranged from meeting while riding the train from the airport to finally getting up enough nerve to say hello to another regular rider.
Turns out, more often than not, timing was everything. For example, here’s the grand prize story submitted by Danette Burchill and Matt Haynes of Portland, Ore.
“Matt and I met while waiting for the #20 on December 23, during a snowstorm. Buses were understandably delayed and a group of 10 people had accumulated at the bus shelter on 28th and East Burnside.
“Well,” Matt said to the crowd “would anyone like to play an alphabet game while we wait? How ‘bout ‘Vegetables: A-Z?’”
“Hmmm … I don’t know …” I replied. “Could we include fruits as well?”
“Uh, all right, I guess.” he said and got us going. The whole crowd enthusiastically played “Fruits and Vegetables,” and had started “Rock Bands from the 70s and 80s,” when the #20 arrived.
I was impressed by Matt’s boldness, playful spirit and how he brought a group of strangers together into a community, if only for a moment. Once on the bus, I thought to myself: “Now that’s the kind of guy I’d like to be with. Too bad I’ll never see him again.”