One Bus Ride Can Change a Life

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No one should miss an opportunity over a few dollars in bus fare

Access to healthcare, nutrition, unemployment, and poverty are complicated issues with complex solutions, but sometimes a train pass can make a all the difference in a person's life

On an average weekday, 1.6 million Chicagoans take buses and trains to get around town. Whether it’s getting to and from work, doctor's appointments, or running out for groceries, Chicago is a city that relies on it's public transportation system. Despite the convenience, the cost to ride can be a barrier to people experiencing hardships. This is where MSV steps in. Each year on Giving Tuesday, we raise money to support a special Ventra Pass program to bridge gaps for individuals and families facing these barriers. Read the stories below for recent examples of the program in action:

John's Story

Getting a 7-day Ventra card from MSV helped me out when I was in a pinch. I recently saved enough money to buy pass but my wallet got stolen. MSV stepped in and thank God because I was able to get to and from Streetwise that week to pick up magazines to sell on my corner downtown; that was also the week I went around to get all my things like my State ID replacement, and everything really started to turn around for me after all that.

Tony's Story

MSV gave me a Ventra card to attend job fairs and job interviews. Because of that, one of the interviews I went on, I got the job! Before my current job, I had seasonal employment. Now I have full time employment with healthcare benefits.

J's Story (Mom of 2)

The bus passes that MSV has provided have been so important to me. I’m a single mother that constantly struggles to maintain consistent transportation for myself and two young girls. Bus transportation helps me and my children stay healthy during the cold winter months. I have a medical condition and the winter months and cold are often hard on my body. Having the passes and the ability to sit on a warm bus than having to walk in the cold, has been a tremendous support to keeping me healthy and able to care for my children.

L's Story (Mom of 3)

Bus card assistance has helped me in a number of ways, most importantly they have been used to help keep me safe. I had worked with MSV on finding and securing new employment after being out of work for a couple of months and the passes helped me get to interviews. I eventually started to work, however my work day started at 5:30am. I was not initially able to afford bus cards so I walked to work every morning. It took me 45 minutes to walk to work.

My walk was not necessarily in the safest environment so I tried to avoid side streets and walked in well-lit parking lots when available. When I talked with MSV about walking to work, they felt like I was not necessarily in a safe situation and was able to provide bus card assistance until I received my first pay check so I could then buy and become more stable to purchase my own bus cards. This support immediately made me feel safe, but also thankful that there is a program that helps parents with bus cards. Without this assistance, I truly believe I would not have secured employment as fast as I did as well as make it possible to continue to work a very early schedule where I did not need to walk every morning.

A's Story (Mom of 3)

The bus card assistance from MSV has been a huge help to my family and me! Bus card assistance has helped me consistently bring my children to the Center and stabilized my employment situation. I am a mother of 3 boys and am the sole financial provider for my family. When I do not have the funds for transportation, I felt like I had no other choice but to not bring the children to school-therefore they missed a lot of days at the center. When MSV realized that I could not bring the children due to transportation, they helped me with passes to ensure the children could stay in school, which also improved things at work. This assistance helped me get back on track with my budget and it meant that my children were getting consistent care at the Center. My family really appreciates all of the help!


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  • Foglia Family & Youth Center
    2859 W. Jackson Blvd. Chicago, IL 60612
  • Marillac Social Center
    212 S. Francisco Ave. Chicago, IL 60612
  • St. Vincent de Paul Center
    2145 N. Halsted St. Chicago, IL 60614