Consider DONATING CARS to LOW INCOME Families
When you put the keys in your car’s ignition each morning, it’s easy to take convenient transportation for granted. However, for thousands of low-income households all across the country, owning a car or truck isn’t a realistic option. That’s where used car donations come into play. Using vehicle donations from people just like you, Vehicles for Change is able to give families like these a chance at car ownership. Would you consider donating a car?
Who Needs Access to a Car?
Sit back and think about how often you use your car. Most car owners use their vehicle on a daily basis to drop kids off, drive to work, pick kids up from school, take them to practices and after school events, run errands, and more. Without access to a car, these simple tasks become difficult and nearly impossible.
Take for example a single mother of two children. Both children are able to take the bus to school, but need their mother to drive them to off-campus after school activities. Without a car, it’s difficult for the mother to always line up rides for them. After weeks of trying to make it work, she has to tell her children that they can no longer participate in their favorite activities: dance and karate.
All the way across town, there’s a smart young man in his late twenties who has fallen on bad times. After getting laid off six months ago, he hasn’t been able to afford the things he once could. He’s forced to ride the bus everywhere. However, he just interviewed for a job that’s well off the predefined bus route. If he can’t get access to a car, he won’t be able to accept the job and his cycle of low-income living will continue indefinitely. Donating a car can help both of these scenarios.
A Striking Look at the Statistics
Think these two examples are far-fetched? Consider the numbers in the Baltimore and Washington D.C. area alone. There are currently 81,000 low-income households without cars in Baltimore, 133,550 in Washington DC., and thousands more in the surrounding areas. Out of all the jobs in these two areas, only 46-54% are reachable by transit within 90 minutes.
The Vehicles for Change Impact on Lives
By donating cars to families in need, Vehicles for Change has been able to make a major impact. It has already awarded more than 5,000 cars, improved 16,450 lives, and allowed 75% of recipients to get better jobs and/or increase their earnings.
Donating Cars to Vehicles for Change
Donating cars to Vehicles for Change involves a simple three-step process. First, you need to complete a donation form. You can do this by using the online form, downloading a print form and submitting it by mail, fax, or email, or calling 855-820-7990. After submitting the form, you can expect to hear back within 24 hours.
Step two asks you to schedule a pick-up by one of Vehicles for Change’s tow trucks. These pick-ups can usually be scheduled within three business days. Finally, step three involves preparing your car for the tow truck and handing over the keys, signed title, and lien release (if applicable). The tow truck driver will provide a donation receipt for tax purposes.
What Happens to My Car After Donation?
Curious about what happens to a donated car? Vehicles for Change accepts any car, truck, or SUV. If it can be repaired and reconditioned for less than $1,000 and will provide a minimum of two years or 24,000 miles of reliable service, the vehicle will be awarded to a pre-qualified family. If it needs major repairs, the vehicle will most likely be sold through Freedom Wheels with proceeds going towards helping repair other cars. Luxury cars are accepted, but not awarded to low-income families (they are expensive to repair). They are also sold through Freedom Wheels and the proceeds are used towards repairing other vehicles.
While some vehicles are directly awarded to families and others are sold, all vehicles are equally important. Regardless of whether your vehicle goes to a family or generates funds to repair other vehicles, your donation makes a direct impact.
Better Access to Higher Paying Jobs
Owning a car often means better access to higher paying jobs. Having reliable transportation enables individuals to gain employment, arrive on time, keep jobs, receive promotions, and improve their income and earning potential. By donating cars, you can supply the all-important building block for this chain reaction.
Better Access to Healthy Living and Activities
When you choose to donate a car, you’re giving a family a chance at healthier living. A recent Vehicles for Change survey reported that 100 percent of recipients are taking children to extracurricular activities, 87 percent are driving their children to athletic practices and events, 81 percent are taking their kids to music and art related opportunities, and 75 percent are driving their children to daycare. By being able to participate in these activities, children everywhere are getting the chance to learn, develop, and grow. Donating a car has a direct impact on children in these families as well.
Additionally, owning a vehicle gives parents access to primary care physicians and doctors for their children – something that’s otherwise unattainable in many situations.
The Walk in Their Shoes Program
Finding it difficult to understand the situation many of these low-income families are in? Vehicles for Change would be happy to connect you with their Walk in Their Shoes program. This firsthand, educational program gives business leaders and government officials the opportunity to shadow a Vehicles for Change car recipient for a day. The recipient is asked to resume his or her previous car-less life and explain to their shadow the struggles they once had.
Who Qualifies for a Donated Vehicle?
To qualify for a vehicle, recipients must meet a set of criteria. This list includes having a verifiable job offer or working at least 30 hours a week, having a valid state driver’s license, being insurable, not owning another vehicle, and being drug-free with no extensive criminal background.
This program awards cars to qualifying low-income families for around $750. Approximately 25 percent of the vehicles donated are able to be used in this capacity. Regardless of credit history, recipients are allowed to set up low-interest loans.
Vehicles for Change’s Core Values and Beliefs
Vehicles for Change is driven by very specific and focused core values and beliefs. First and foremost, they believe in integrity and transparency. They always follow the guidelines and promises made on the website and never stray from their mission – which leads into the second core value: mission driven. Vehicles for Change believes “there is no better job in the world than one that provides a valuable service for our fellow man.”
Other core values include a dedication to family, pride, and innovation. Additionally, each staff member is asked to commit to the team by bringing their best “me” to work each day. By doing this, Vehicles for Change is able to offer “Positively Outrageous Service” to every person interested in donating or receiving a car.
Donating Cars: Is it for Me?
Answering the question “should I donate my car?” can be difficult. When donating a car, you must weigh all the consequences and benefits. For example, can you reasonably afford to buy another car? If so, your donation may be able to benefit a family in need while still allowing you to live comfortably. Are you getting ready to trade in an old vehicle with little value? If so, you could donate it instead and have a much bigger impact.
When you think about charitable donations, a car probably isn’t the first thing that comes to mind; however, they are in great demand throughout the country. While Vehicles for Change never asks people to donate their car when they can’t afford to do so, it does encourage individuals to think about what they can realistically afford to give away. Is donating a car for you?
About the Vehicles for Change Organization
Vehicles for Change is a local, non-profit organization committed to improving the lives of low-income families by providing affordable vehicles. While it has a solid infrastructure, strong leadership, and wonderful connections, the organization relies on car donations to continue providing help.
For more information, Vehicles for Change asks interested individuals to visit its website www.vehiclesforchange.org. On the site you can find out more about the donation process, who receives vehicles, and how donations have impacted recipients and their families. There are even real-life success stories from individuals who have changed for the better after receiving a car from Vehicles for Change.
Even a single donation can make a world of difference in a family’s life. If you are interested in being a catalyst for change, contact Vehicles for Change today!