Janice Birt and Carla Perkins are doing their part to spread joy to others in need this holiday season.
As dedicated, veteran bus drivers at Atlanta Public Schools, Birt and Perkins are working to ensure the holidays are brighter by providing boxes of food and other essential goods to those who need it the most.
This past Thanksgiving, the duo partnered to donate and deliver 12 food boxes, each chock full of turkey, ham, collard greens, vegetables, potatoes, rice, beans, canned foods, eggs, milk, cereal, and several non-perishable items – all of which benefited their fellow APS transportation employees.
For their part, Birt and Perkins collected more than $300 in donations to fund the entire assortment of food for meals, ensuring their co-workers and family members would have enough to eat all week long.
They hope to do the same for the Christmas holiday.
“It was very nice and very emotional, especially knowing we had what we needed to help our families in need,” said Birt, an APS bus operator since 1982, who drives in the North Atlanta cluster. “It brightens your day to know that other people are thinking about you. For me, that’s why it’s so important to show compassion and positivity. You realize it’s not about you – it’s about others.”
“I feel like we should be able to reach out, help our colleagues and let them know that we love them, are thinking about them and miss them,” said Perkins, a driver since 1989, who is assigned to schools in the South Atlanta cluster.
As longtime members of the APS Transportation Sunshine Committee – a group established more than 10 years ago to assist co-workers in times of need – Birt and Perkins are accustomed to giving to others.
Take Birt. When she’s not collecting money and food to help her co-workers, Birt finds time to donate coats and clothing to APS students in need. Last year, she collected 125 coats and dozens of sweaters, socks, underwear, and toiletry items to donate to students at Woodson Grove Park Academy and Scott, Boyd, and Slater elementary schools.
Perkins is just as committed to causes she believes in. This fall, for example, she collected 40 backpacks to benefit students at Humphries and Dobbs elementary schools.
With the holiday in full swing, both ladies say they have no plans to slow down. Both remain committed to helping others whenever – and however- they can.
“I like to be needed,” Birt said. “Our children and parents at APS need a lot of help, and I want to be able to help as many people as I can.”