Table Magazine Forging Forward is a series of eight articles about our region’s recovery and resiliency in the time of  COVID, presented with the generous support of the Pittsburgh Foundation. ​

Imagine you have a child with severe asthma. You call your family doctor who recommends that you visit a specialist in Cranberry. You currently live in Turtle Creek and do not have access to a vehicle. You do not have family nearby to take your child to the specialist, and all of your friends are in a similar situation as you.

How do you get there? 

Taking three buses during a pandemic may not be the most optimal solution and you don’t have the ability to ask your employer for an entire day off for “personal reasons.” Who would you turn to? 

This situation may seem extreme, but is more common that many of us realize. All over the greater Pittsburgh region, thousands of our friends and neighbors lack personal transportation or live near a bus route. Those that do may not be able to afford regular bus passes and have to condense their trips to make their dollars stretch. Simple tasks like picking up groceries or prescriptions, visiting doctors or applying for jobs are out of reach for many.

However, organizations like Heritage Community Initiatives, based in Braddock, Pa, are working hard to support our local communities through education, nutrition and transportation support. Now in its 37th year, Heritage is a cornerstone of service, continuing to maintain its positive impact in more than 40 communities around Allegheny County.

“I always say this and mean it. It is a privilege to do what we do,” said Paula McWilliams, president and CEO. Recognizing that no one issue exists in a silo, it was important that Heritage addressed multiple concerns impacting families and individuals.