Council President Evan Glass presents the donated metro cards to Head Start officials. Credit: Em Espey

Thirty-three low-income families are receiving free Metro cards totaling $300 per family, donated by an anonymous Montgomery County resident. Council President Evan Glass presented the cards to Head Start officials for distribution at the Council Office Building in Rockville at 11 a.m. this morning.

A few weeks ago, Glass said, “one special person here in Montgomery County” reached out to him personally and asked for his help donating a collection of Metro cards to families in need. He said the benefactor specifically reached out to Glass because they were familiar with his outspoken commitment to transit equity.

“From the beginning, I knew this was a really unique opportunity,” he said to members of the press this morning. “This is the holiday season, and it’s time to give back.”

The recipients of the cards are Head Start families who rely on public transit in their daily lives. Glass partnered with Head Start to select 33 recipient families. Program officials Nichelle Owens and Verna Washington joined Glass at the event to receive the Metro cards on behalf of the selected families.

Head Start is a federal education program providing what Glass called “wrap-around services” to low-income families with children under five years old. These services include everything from educational programs and family support to medical, dental and nutrition care. The program currently serves over 3,000 Montgomery County families, Glass said.

To qualify for services, families must fall at or below the federal poverty level. For a family of four, that equals a household salary of less than $28,000. Glass pointed out that the average family income in Montgomery County is currently $108,000.

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Families can apply to receive Head Start services online through the program’s website or in person at their offices, located at 4910 Macon Road in Rockville.

Washington said to choose recipients, Head Start family service workers reached out and asked families under their services if they relied on public transit to get to school, work and medical appointments. She said all the selected families have since been contacted and are “very grateful” for the generous gift.

Local Head Start supervisor Verna Washington thanked the unnamed benefactor on behalf of recipient families. Credit: Em Espey

Glass emphasized the importance of public transit, pointing out that it unlocks access to jobs, education, healthcare and more. “Otherwise, [families] are literally stuck where they are.”

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He said he’s willing to continue partnering with Head Start and other local organizations if more people choose to donate.

“Feel free to reach out to me,” he said. “People still need to get to work, long after the holiday season.”