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While Early Head Start and Head Start locations remain closed due to COVID-19, a partnership with Fresno EOC Programs makes it possible for families to pick-up breakfast, lunch, and snacks five days a week. Transit Systems Driver Pearl Reyes is among one of the drivers who requested to deliver food and diapers to distribution locations as her regular routes remain suspended.

“I enjoy everything about being a driver,” said Reyes, Para-Transit Driver. “I enjoy our supervisor motivating us in the morning, getting to see our passengers, and being with great coworkers who are all friendly and kind.”

Reyes has been with Fresno EOC Transit Systems for 16 years. Before the pandemic, Reyes drove disabled people in need of transportation to and from appointments. Some of her riders, she’s known for eight years, she says. Even though she misses seeing their friendly faces on the bus with her, she’s happy she can still serve her community.

Now Reyes drives to different areas throughout Fresno County, such as Huron, Reedley, Caruthers, the City of San Joaquin, and Firebaugh. Her day starts off loading food onto buses prepared by Food Services; then, she drives to Head Start sites, where teachers help unload and ready to distribute meals to families.

“The teachers are so helpful; we help each other and work well together,” Reyes said. “We do things together as a team. It’s like a family. We all work together to serve other people.”

For her, working with Head Start to provide meals to families has been a fulfilling experience. Long ago, when Reyes went to register her son for Head Start, one of the teachers noticed she had a commercial license and let her know about a job opening with Transit. Now 16 years later, her son is graduating high school, and she can give back.

“At the time, I was stressed out, and had just gotten laid off,” Reyes said. “I was more than happy to take the opportunity. One of the Head Start teachers noticed I had a commercial license, and I’ve been a driver ever since. I always remind my son he’s the reason I got my job.”

Reyes continues to bring excitement to her team and enjoys knowing she is helping kids get fed. Transit remains committed to serving the community and adjusting its operations to continue the necessary services in these unprecedented times.