DONATE a Car to CHARITY and Provide CHANGE for Low-Income Families
The American economy continues to flounder, and low-income becomes normal for countless families every day. In some cities, the unemployment rate is 15% or higher. Among certain populations such as veterans or the disabled, the unemployment rate is as high as 75%. Most who are able want to help, but they struggle with how to do it tangibly. Donating a car to charity through organizations like Vehicles for Change is one way toprovide a tangible resource to a needy family.
How Vehicles for Change Works
Vehicles for Change is one of the most popular venues for donating a car to charity. Since 1999, it has served over 15,000 low-income families and others in need of vehicles. The Vehicles for Change program has criteria that must be met in order to participate:Recipients receiving a car must have a verifiable full-time job offer or work at least 30 hours per week. They must be insurable and referred to VFC through an outside agency.
Vehicles for Change Makes Work Possible
Low-income adults often miss out on job opportunities because they have no consistent transportation. Single parents, in particular, struggle with taking care of children while juggling job interviews, and they often end up choosing between the two. However, a family with a reliable vehicle can access more opportunities. These families also have more options for child care.
Lateness or absence at work is often attributed to vehicle breakdowns. Unfortunately, supervisors have different tolerance levels for these mishaps, and adults often get fired from jobs they and their families needed. A reliable vehicle reduces or completely eradicates this issue.Vehicles for Change only awards automobiles in good working condition with mild to moderate repair needs. Cars with major needs are repaired, but sold through other outlets with the proceeds going to prepare other vehicles for families.
Donating a Car to Charity Promotes Good Health
An old American commercial informed viewers that one out of seven children came from a family without health insurance. Since the economic crash of 2008, that number has only risen. To worsen matters, parents without consistent transportation cannot always quickly transport their children to a pediatrician. The Vehicles for Change staff provides used vehicles as a way to promote better health. General health and well-being increase when parents are able to drive children to needed appointments.
Vehicles in good working condition provide instant access to pediatricians, pharmacies, and other health-related sources. For instance, families with their own vehicle have more options as to which supermarkets they will use. This allows them to purchase greater quantities and greater varieties of food, which improves the family’s nutrition.
Car Ownership Increases Confidence
Low-income families and their children often struggle with low self-esteem. Preteens and teenagers are particularly at risk. Preteens are expected to gradually start going places without parents or other adult chaperones for short times that lengthen as they get older. Teenagers find themselves surrounded with talk of driver’s education, permits, and licenses. However, a teen cannot have these experiences or learn the responsibilities of car ownership if his or her family doesn’t own a working vehicle. When you donate a car to charity, these experiences and freedoms are accessible to preteens, teens, and young adults.
Preteens and teenagers can use the family car to learn the rules of the road right along with their peers. Teenagers can also gain confidence as they use the family vehicle to help out more, perhaps through picking up siblings from school or running errands for their parents. Finally, taking care of a donated vehicle increases maturity, gratitude, and willingness to tackle adult responsibilities.
Car Ownership Allows Greater Empathy
People from low-income households may struggle with the idea of “giving back” to their communities because they themselves are struggling, so they might see helping others as an imposition. Charity work from organizations might seem like an insult. However, once a low-income family has its own tangible resources, empathy is free to increase again. For instance, those who receive a donated vehicle will likely empathize with those still waiting for ways to access the places they need to go.
Families with donated vehicles are likely to share with neighbors or friends. They may also seek out other ways to help people in situations similar to their own. For example, a family might use their donated car to transport food to a food bank, or they might collect and deliver materials for a home-building or restoration project.
Car Ownership Brings Families Together
In tough economic times, family becomes more important than ever. Scheduled family time provides relaxation and fun for adults and children facing the daily stressors of work, school, or job-hunting. However, a family can only do so much at home and within walking distance of their house. Children and teens in particular will want to go out, participate in new activities, and visit with friends. Yet without a reliable vehicle, this is often impossible.
Vehicles for Change’s mission involves increasing family time and giving families options as to what activities they will do together. Many of the vehicles VFC receives every year are SUVs, vans, trucks, and other large models built to carry several family members at once. Since VFC bases maintenance responsibilities on the family’s income level, more funds are free to spend on family time or save for something major, like a vacation.
Car Ownership Opens the World to Families
As the world shrinks, society becomes more global. New languages are heard in the smallest of neighborhoods. Adults get to know people of all cultures through work, church, and other public places. Children are exposed to cultures and environments outside their own and may be expected to understand certain cultural and social variables besides what they know. For example, it’s now not uncommon for a child from a mountainous area to be tested on how a beach’s ecosystem works.
However, families without vehicles are often cut off from these cultures and experiences. Children may find questions about new languages, ecosystems, or traditions confusing because they have never been outside their own neighborhoods. When you donate a car to charity, you make meeting new people and seeing new places possible for families. As adults expose them to new things, children and teens learn more. They might also perform better in school, develop empathy for others, and discover new interests and hobbies.
Car Ownership Decreases Isolation
Lack of a steady job or income is an isolating and lonely experience. Being labeled as a “low-income family” may decrease self-esteem. Children and adults alike eschew discussing their economic issues, possibly closing themselves off from those who want to help. Owning a car may decrease the pain of isolation. The ability to go places and meet with friends opens the door for discussion of economic problems and solutions. The door also opens for support and compassion.