You’ll Never Believe What This Teacher’s Christmas Wish Was

Why would you give bus passes to people who need food and shelter? This social worker spells it out for us.

Champaign, IL — Lisa Mosley got the call on December 18, 2017. Mosley, a Social Worker at Westview Elementary School in Champaign, Illinois, had submitted a Christmas wish to a local radio station, MIX 94.5, asking them to help her students (and their families) who were food- and shelter-insecure.

Dare you not to cry: Listen in as Jonathan Drake from MIX 94.5 grants Lisa Mosley’s Christmas Wish

“I’m a longtime listener,” said Mosley. “So I’ve heard the holiday wishes for years and I’ve even thought about submitting before, but I have so many ideas [for helping our kids] that I couldn’t pick just one.”

This year, she decided to make a request that would help many families at once. Mosley filled out the online form thinking to herself, the worst thing that can happen is they say no.

Lisa Mosley in her office at Westview Elementary School

In her application, Mosley requested 20 annual MTD bus passes (at a cost of $84 a piece) thinking, she said, that her request might be “pushing it.” On the last school day before Christmas, MIX 94.5 not only granted her wish, but threw in another 10 bus passes — bringing the total gift to 30 bus passes.

Why transit passes? “Well, transportation is huge if you don’t know how you’re going get somewhere, especially this time of year with the cold,” explained Mosley.

“Most of our food and shelter-insecure families want to be involved, they want to participate in school activities. They are no different than other involved parents, except they might not be able to afford a car, or even a $1 bus ride,” she said. “When a child comes to school and needs glasses, a coat, a place to sleep, and food to eat, transportation for his or her entire family is one of the best things we can start with, because transportation can help a family get back on track.”

MIX 94.5 has been granting Christmas wishes for at least 25 years, accompanied by a radiothon-style, community fundraiser. Last year, Morning Show hosts Tim & Sarah led a “Wish On Wheels” fundraiser, broadcasting live while pedaling the Slowride Pedal Tours pedal bus, doing laps around downtown Champaign from 6am to 6pm and raising nearly $28,000 for the wish fund, including $10,000 in matching funds donated by a downtown Champaign restaurant, Hamilton Walker’s.

Then comes the hard part—choosing. “Out of the hundreds of wishes we received last year, and the dozens we were able to grant, Lisa Mosley’s selfless gift really stood out,” said MIX 94.5’s Jonathan Drake.

Mosley is very thankful for their commitment to giving, “These families have been so grateful. Some of them might use public transportation year around, and some will use it to get back on their feet….[Meanwhile], the kids see me in the gym and smile, saying, ‘Oh, I’ve been using my bus pass,’ with pride, like they’re big kids now.”

MTD offers mobility options to residents of Champaign, Urbana, and Savoy, Illinois that include buses, rides for seniors, ADA Paratransit, ZipCar availability, SafeRides home for Illinois students at night, and resources to encourage walkability, biking, and safety. Others wanting to help provide bus passes to people in need can get more info on how to donate to Community Foundation’s Bus Passes for Social Services fund by contacting MTD at engage@mtd.org or 217.384.8188. Primarily funded by United Way donations from MTD employees, Bus Passes for Social Services reimburses half the cost of an $84 annual pass to participating social service agencies that purchase passes for people they serve.