Donor Image-01.png“Low-income” was once an adjective that described only a small number of families. Today though, the number of low-income families has held steady for as long as six years in some areas while exponentially increasing in others. Low-income families struggle physically, emotionally, and mentally. They want to feel uplifted and important again. Actions such as donating a car can satisfy these underlying needs.

Donating a Car: How it Works

Donating a car often seems like an arduous task. People worry they will choose the wrong charity and that their vehicles will end up used for parts. They also question whether the recipients of donations truly need them, or if donors are simply providing executives with new luxury vehicles. Vehicles for Change recognizes these concerns and promises that donating a car will truly help people in need.

Since 1999, Vehicles for Change has served more than 20,000 people through vehicle donations. In the last few years alone, more than 5,000 low-income individuals have been positively affected through donating a car. In the majority of these situations, families have faced problems involving job loss, disability, drug abuse, or prison sentences. It’s also quite common for multiple families to live under the same roof. When considering the needs of dependent individuals like elderly parents and grandparents, reliable vehicles become more important than ever.

Donating a Car: Who Benefits?

When donating a car, people often wonder who directly benefits. Vehicles for Change hides nothing and is proud to convey the true value and immediate impact of vehicle donations to donors and prospective donors alike.

Job Seekers Can Benefit

First and foremost, the goal behind Vehicles for Change is to financially empower low-income families. This ultimately means providing breadwinners with access to reliable transportation that enables them to secure steady paying jobs. Consider, for example, the chain reaction in the following story. A man who has been unable to hold a job because he regularly arrives at work late is awarded a car from Vehicles for Change.

He immediately schedules an interview with a company previously unreachable by bus. When the time for the interview comes, he has no problem arriving on time. Because he is a fine, upstanding man, all he needed was face-to-face time to secure a job. After a few weeks of working, his boss asks if anyone can work overtime to meet the increased demand. With the flexibility of transportation he now has, he offers to work overtime. A few weeks later he is granted a promotion and pay increase.

Children Can Benefit

The benefits don’t stop there, though. Children also benefit greatly from access to reliable transportation. When parents are granted a vehicle, they are better able to carpool children to and from activities, practices, and social events. This enables them to build life skills and relationships that will benefit them in the future. Whether it’s going to athletic practices, attending summer camps, or taking on academic initiatives and challenges, access to transportation can have a direct impact on shaping and molding a child’s life.

Caregivers and Dependents Can Benefit

In situations where multiple generations of family members are living together, there is often a burden on certain individuals to care for the elderly and disabled. With access to a car, caretakers can conveniently shuttle dependents to doctor’s appointments and other activities.

The VFC Program

The Vehicles for Change program awards cars to low-income families that are connected with social-service and job-readiness agencies. Applicants must have an application submitted on their behalf and fall under a maximum income limit.

Qualifying for a VFC Vehicle

Qualifying for a VFC vehicle entails meeting a series of requirements. He or she must have a verifiable job offer or preexisting job (minimum of 30 hours per week), must have a driver’s license, must be insurable with no criminal history, DUIs, or DWIs, must not already have a household vehicle, must be drug-free, and must be able to cover ongoing costs of car ownership and initial taxes, tags, and title costs. If the applicant is under the age of 25, he or she must have children to qualify.

The VFC Donation Process

When donating a vehicle to Vehicles for Change, you don’t have to worry about a complicated process. In fact, it’s as easy as one, two, three. Donors start by filling out and submitting a donation form (which can be done online, in print, or over the phone). After receiving the form, Vehicles for Change will contact the donor within 24-48 hours to schedule a pick-up time.

The towing service is complimentary and typically scheduled within three business days. Finally, the donor is required to meet the tow truck driver and hand over the keys and signed title. At this time, the donor will also receive a proof of donation form to cancel insurance and assist in the transfer process. To meet IRS regulations, Vehicles for Change will provide the donor with a tax receipt within 30 days of the donation or sale (if applicable).

The Donation Checklist

To make the process run smoothly, Vehicles for Change encourages donors to review the donating a car checklist prior to the scheduled vehicle pick-up time. The first thing you’ll need to do is remove all personal belongings. While this sounds like an obvious step, it’s surprising how many donors forgetfully leave behind things like CDs, cables, insurance information, EZ passes, and garage door openers.

Next, prepare the vehicle’s title for transfer and donation. You’ll need to sign and print your name exactly as it appears on the title. If multiple people are listed on the title, all applicable signatures are required. Be sure to list Vehicles for Change as the buyer on the actual title. It’s very important that you fill out the title accurately, as the Department of Motor Vehicles is very particular and strict about titles. Any titles that contain errors, lack information, or appear to be altered will be denied. Copy and scan the title for your own personal records as well.

If there is financing involved with the vehicle, it is necessary to obtain the car’s lien release. Vehicles for Change requires both the lien release and title before legal ownership can be taken. Finally, remove license tags and return them before cancelling insurance.

Changing Lives Through VFC

Vehicles for Change certainly does change lives. If you can, consider donating a car to help someone in need. By supplying Vehicles for Change with your old car, you can assist low-income families in your area in their pursuit of financial, physical, and social freedom. If you cannot afford to donate a vehicle at this time, consider raising awareness for the cause by telling people about the reality of the transportation situation among low-income families and suggesting Vehicles for Change.