Good News Garage: Changing Lives

Good News Garage provides the keys to a better life.

Someone’s cast-off car becomes someone else’s gateway to success through Good News Garage

(Note: I’m not affiliated with Good News Garage in any way)

Imagine needing to safely get to and from work , drop off/pick  up the kids from childcare, come home, go to night school, come back home and do it again the next day. Throw in a doctor’s appointment or other errand and you will have pulled off what just about every other busy American does on a given day.

Imagine doing that without a car of your own and very few transportation options.

Enter Good News Garage. Since its inception in 1996, the agency has donated refurbished cars to 4400 clients and counting. The Vermont-based agency relies on donations of used vehicles from CT, MA, NH, VT, RI, and ME. To say this program changes lives is an understatement. I think their most recent statistics tell the story much better than I ever could:

  • 89% of recipients reported greater economic opportunities
  • 86% reported better quality of life since receiving their vehicle
  • 83% consider their cars to be safe and reliable 12 months later

Check out some of their additional statistics and annual report. Minds blown and lives changed.

Transportation Deserts

This program is a boon to those in the New England area who lack access to regular public transit or whose circumstances make public transit impractical (distance, location,  multiple jobs, medical needs, child care needs) A safe and reliable car is the difference between economic mobility and economic hardship for low-income working people.

Mass transit is an inefficient and expensive afterthought in many parts of the country, and I’m glad that GNG has recognized this and taken action. With the recent shift of poverty from the city to the suburbs, hopping the bus to work is no longer a viable option.Suburban areas have little to no reliable mass transit.

Furthermore, a low-wage worker who spends hours on mass transit to and from work every day stands less of a chance of continuing their education, seeking supplemental employment, or attending job training/school.

GNG’s goal is to close that gap and provide their clients with equal footing in the process.

Humble gifts

Once a GNG client completes the application and vetting process, they’re matched with a vehicle that suits their needs and family size. All donated vehicles receive a 72-point inspection and are refurbished.

Something as simple as a donated car has the power to  change lives. As someone who dabbles in the automotive industry (I have a “day job” and a part-time business to keep the lights on and a roof over my head) it’s easy to get seduced by the many shiny toys that grace my social media feeds.

That’s not realistic for me, however.

And so it is for GNG clients as well. Something as humble as well-tended low-mileage  used car can be a catalyst for better employment opportunities, access to childcare, health care, and less time spent in transit. For someone without a car, a donated early-2000s model might as well be a sparkling 2016 model.

Why there isn’t a program like this in every state escapes me. If you’d like to find out more about Good News Garage and the various programs they offer, visit their website.

Better yet, if you’re a New England resident with a well-maintained used car, consider donating it to GNG. Your old car can become someone’s ticket to economic stability and better quality of life. Your act of kindness can change the course of someone’s life for the better.

#GivingTuesday: 5 Cool Ways to Volunteer With Your Car

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If you love to drive as much as I do, you can understand wanting to spend time in your car besides commuting and running errands. One of the coolest ways to get in some extra drive time is to use your car to help others. Here’s a look at five great ways to volunteer with your car:

1. Save a life. If you love animals, rescue groups in your community can always use transport drivers to either get pets to their forever homes or to transport animals from shelters into a rescue-sponsored foster home. Groups such as the Underground Railroad Rescued Kitty Network (URRKN)  rely on drivers to deliver pets relay-style to their new home. Interested? email them for an invite.

2. Deliver food…and companionship. If you have a heart for seniors, Meals on Wheels could use a hand. Sign up with your local chapter and help deliver warm meals to home-bound seniors in your community. You’ll not only provide a nutritious meal, but you visit will also brighten a senior’s day.

3. Give someone a lift. Some non-profits, such as Jewish Federation and Family Services of Orange County, CA offer ride services for seniors  and working people in need who lack reliable transportation. Volunteer drivers are the heart and soul of such programs; your ride can mean the difference between getting out and about or remaining at home. Keep track of your miles and fuel; both are tax-deductible within IRS limits.

4. Play Santa: Round up some friends, buy some gifts, and distribute them to kids in pediatric hospitals. You will win hearts and blow minds. Always check with the hospital of your choice beforehand. Chances are, they will welcome you and your friends with open arms.

5. Treatment transport: Sign up to drive a person with cancer or AIDS to treatment or doctor’s appointments. Groups such as local chapters of the American Cancer Society rely on volunteer drivers to get people with cancer to and from treatment each week. Give someone a lift and reduce their feelings of isolation at the same time. A clean car and friendly smile will mean much to someone with no other way to get to treatments and appointments.

You won’t need a killer car for any of these gigs. My departed 1991 Volvo, Nigel, held up great when I drove for a local pet rescue. All that matters is a clean driving record, an open heart,  a clean background, and some free time.  You’ll get more road time and make a difference in another person’s life at the time time.

It doesn’t get much better than that.

Note: I have no affiliations with any of the groups mentioned in this post.

 

 

#GivingTuesday

#GivingTuesday

Much More Than A Hashtag

Each Tuesday, I’ll be spotlighting a car-related charitable organization. Cars have the power to change lives.

Cars are a source of economic and social mobility for all of us, but especially for those who live in areas where public transit is inconsistent or non-existent. Having access to safe, reliable transportation can mean the difference between employment and unemployment for working people.

Earlier this year, the Detroit Free Press ran an article on  James Robertson, who walked to work each day in the brutal Detroit weather. Donations poured in from all over the country, and a local Ford dealership gifted him with a brand-new car. His commute is now completed in minutes instead of hours, and the additional donations allow  him to have a financial safety net that was otherwise impossible on $10.55 an hour.

Robertson’s plight is representative of working people across the country who lack access to reliable transportation. Charities such as Vermont-based Good News Garage buys and repairs used vehicles to give to people in need. By donating funds or a used car, you can change a person’s life.

A safe, reliable car will give a person in need access to employment, school, daycare, medical appointments and so much more. Good News Garage is accepting vehicle donations from CT, VT, NH, MA, and Rhode Island. Cars coming from States outside of the New England  area will be given case-by-case consideration.

If you’re looking to spread some car love, check out Good News Garage. I am not affiliated with them in any way, but I do appreciate the power of a car to change a person’s life. ❤