Global News Story on the December 14, 2015 Donate A Ride kick off.

To read the full story from Slav Kornik of Global news please visit here; http://globalnews.ca/news/2400092/edmonton-donate-a-ride-campaign-hopes-to-break-record/

December 14, 2015 - An annual campaign that provides free public transit tickets to Edmonton residents in need has launched for a 20th consecutive year.

The Donate-A-Ride campaign started Monday and will run until March 31. It distributes ETS transit tickets to community agencies which then pass them to low-income residents and Edmonton families in need.

The agencies include Boyle Street Community Services, Boys & Girls Clubs Big Brothers Big Sisters, Edmonton’s Food Bank, YESS, Seniors Association of Greater Edmonton, and iHuman Youth Society.

The city says transit access can improve quality of life by providing transportation to employment, education and social services.

“Imagine the difference we could make if everyone donated just one transit ticket,” said Mayor Don Iveson.

Donate-A-Ride has grown tremendously since its inaugural year. In 1996, 1,840 transit tickets were distributed by five agencies. Last year, 101,136 tickets were handed out by 73 agencies.

“It’s about dignity too. It’s about people who need a step up, who need a hand up, so this program helps them to do that,” Councillor Dave Loken said.

Donations can be made online or in person by asking a bus driver for an envelope to drop in the fare box.

The Edmonton International Airport is the campaign’s new corporate gold sponsor and it’s already donated $5,000.

630 Ched's Scott Johnson's article on Donate A Ride.

Donate-a-ride, the first city council initiated charity is entering it’s 20th year of raising money to provide free transit to clients of 73 social agencies. It’s hoping to establish a new record of over 101,136 transit tickets to help low income individuals get to essential appointments, through ETS.

“Donate-a-ride’s goal is to make public transit available to everyone, so no one has to make incredibly hard sacrifices to get around this city,” Coun. Dave Loken, the co-chair of the charity said at the launch Monday morning at City Hall. “Our message to individual Edmontonians and businesses is to think of Donate-a-ride this holiday season. Donating just the cost of a cup of coffee can get some one where they need to be and change their life forever.”

The program has come a long way since it’s modest beginning in 1996, when the founder, former Alderman Alan Bolstad got the idea, after trying to help his life back in order.

“He showed up again at our overnight shelter a few nights later and I asked him how it went, and he said he didn’t go,” Bolstad recounted the story. “I said what to you mean you didn’t go? We had it all lined up, and he said he didn’t have anyway of getting there, he didn’t have any money for the bus. And I said ‘the bus stopped you from getting there?’ after we had things all lined up, wow, how crazy is that?”

That first year 1,840 transit tickets, valued at $2,764 were raised. “I look at the list now of 73 agencies and I know that’s going to a lot of people who can just use a little bit of a break, in many cases on a temporary basis,” Bolstad said.

“The importance of a bus ticket is sometimes the beginning of some dignity that many of our kids won’t find anywhere else, so it helps them be in a position that they’re not panhandling,” said Karen Good of the Youth Empowerment and Support Services, or YESS.

The 2016 campaign comes with a new web page, new logo, and a relaunch trying to get the donations dramatically increased. Coun. Bryan Anderson has brought several schools into the fold.

“What would happen if everybody in our city gave one bus ticket?” he said. “We’d have 800,000 bus tickets to distribute to people who are having personal crises. One. I suggested that to several principals of elementary schools. You’ve got 800 families in your school, if you want to do some kind of a fund raiser challenge the families to come up with one ticket.”

The campaign runs until the end of March.

(sj) To read the full article on 630 Ched's website please visit this link; http://www.630ched.com/2015/12/14/donate-a-ride-launches-20th-season/

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2015/2016 Campaign kicked off at City Hall Monday December 14, 2015

"Mayor Don Iveson along with Councillors Dave Loken and Bryan Anderson invites Edmontonians and local businesses to help change a life by contributing to the DONATE-A-RIDE charity during this holiday season.

DONATE-A-RIDE is now in its 20th year. Organizers are hoping to break last year’s record of 101,136 Edmonton Transit tickets, valued at more than $200,000. Tickets were distributed by Edmonton Transit’s 73 partner agencies.

“Through the DONATE-A-RIDE program, we work with several local agencies to distribute thousands of transit tickets to people in need,” said Mayor Iveson. “Imagine the difference we could make if everyone donated just one transit ticket.”

DONATE-A-RIDE’S new Corporate Gold Sponsor is Edmonton International Airport which made a contribution of $5,000.

The DONATE-A-RIDE fundraising campaign runs until April 2016. In addition to online donations, transit riders can make a contribution at the donation kiosk at the platform level in the Churchill LRT station or at the ETS Customer Service Centre in City Hall. Donation envelopes are available from bus operators.

Also, Edmonton Transit offers free transit after 6 p.m. on New Year’s Eve. Any fares collected during the free service will go to the DONATE-A-RIDE program."

DONATE A RIDE 2014/2015 Campaign Wrap Up.

DONATE A RIDE Campaign Wrap Up

On Friday, April 17, 2015 Councillor Dave Loken, Chair presented ETS tickets to Edmonton charitable agencies in the City Room at City Hall on behalf of the generous donors who make the program possible. In total, a record-breaking milestone of $242,685 was raised through the 19th annual donation campaign. As a result, 73 local social agencies will be distributing over 10,000 adult and youth tickets to those who need it most.