In December last year, LightHouse was thrilled to be selected by Uber as a partner in its Community Impact Initiative program. Since 2017 the ride-share company, in recognition of the fact that access to transport is often a barrier to opportunity for many people, began partnering with not-for-profit organizations to provide rides free-of-charge to those in need.
The purpose of the LightHouse partnership with Uber was to make it easier for students to get to LightHouse locations to attend classes, one-on-one lessons and social groups. And, we all know what happened next: coronavirus changed everything for us all. LightHouse had to have all employees who could work remotely move to working from home. We had to close all face-to-face classes and any face-to-face interaction had to stop.
What couldn’t stop though was the essential work being carried out at LightHouse Industries (LHI) in San Leandro, for it is here that essential workers are involved in the process of making and shipping Pride All-purpose cleaner, Pure Bioscience disinfectant and tissue packets. In fact, demand has increased exponentially, and each weekday, and on some Saturdays, essential workers who have low vision or are blind have been working overtime to fill orders.
To support this essential work, Uber agreed to change the terms of its partnership with LightHouse, so LightHouse essential workers could benefit. So now Uber is transporting employees who require a ride, to and from the San Leandro factory free of charge so they can continue to do their necessary work and fulfill a need for the community.
LHI employee Jennifer Holloway said in a recent interview with San Francisco local radio station KALW: “I love my job and these people are like my family. But it is hard work, we are on our feet all day, so I am really grateful to be able to take Uber each day.”
Another LightHouse employee, Caitlin O’Malior, also uses the Uber Impact Initiative partnership with LightHouse to do her work. Once a week, Caitlin takes an Uber ride to go into LightHouse headquarters to assess signage sent to the LightHouse by organizations that must make their signage ADA compliant.
Caitlin has recently moved to an area in San Francisco from where it is difficult to reach the LightHouse by public transit. Caitlin is also not comfortable taking public transit during the epidemic. She, like Jennifer, is very grateful to Uber for its Community Impact Initiative program and its partnership with LightHouse, as are we all, thank you Uber.