Donor Image-01.png2014 ushered Americans into their sixth year of a struggling economy. With unemployment rates as high as 75% among some populations, businesses in every industry suffered effects of the downturn. Auto businesses, in particular, continue working to reclaim former prosperity with mixed results.

How Vehicle Donation Helps

Vehicle donation helps families and businesses tremendously. For example, the fraction of single parents in America has risen to 31%. Twenty-six percent of these are single mothers, while 8% are single fathers. At the same time, the number of two-parent households that are also two-income has drastically dwindled. Many parents are forced to choose between caring for children and obtaining a stable job to provide for them.

Car donations allow them access to consistent, reliable transportation twenty-four hours a day. Transportation also opens low-income families up to access a larger area. For example, a parent without a car might only get groceries from one supermarket, or be limited to unhealthy fast-food chains and convenience shops. In contrast, a parent with a vehicle can travel to larger supermarkets with healthier selections, as well as restaurants with better menu selections.

How the Program Works

At Vehicles for Change, the mission is to empower “families with financial challenges to achieve economic and personal independence through car ownership and technical training.” Through its sustainable car award program, Vehicles for Change awards donated cars to low income families at extremely discounted prices.

Vehicles for Change only awards donations of vehicles in good condition. A vehicle needing minor or moderate repairs is fixed on-site and awarded to a deserving family when ready. Cars with more pressing needsare also repaired, but are then soldrather than used in the program.

Who Qualifies?

To qualify for the program, applicants must meet a series of requirements and stipulations. In essence, applicants are asked to prove they are on the road to self-sufficiency, yet struggling with transportation. Applicants must have a job offer or already be working 30 or more hours a week, have a valid state driver’s license, must be insurable, cannot have any other vehicles in their household, must be drug free with no extensive criminal background, must be able to financially cover any applicable taxes, fees, tags, and title, and must be able to afford the ongoing cost of ownership. If the applicant is under the age of 25, he or she must have children.

The VFC Program recipient image-01.png

The program is Vehicles for Change’s primary initiative and targets low-income families who are usually partnered with social service or job-readiness agencies. Qualified recipients receive guaranteed low-interest loans along with their vehicle. Applicants cannot apply on their own and must have an agency apply on their behalf. There are also specific maximum income levels to determine need.

Who VFC Has Served

Vehicles for Change has overseen vehicle donation since 1999. In its fifteen years of operation, it has served over 20,000 people. In just the past few years alone, this involved at least 5,000 low-income families. These families have faced countless hardships, includingjob loss, drug and alcohol abuse, prison sentences, disabilities, and more. Several families share a home with an elderly parent or relative, and some serve as primary caregivers for that individual.

When considering the needs of dependent individuals, a reliable vehicle is extremely important. Whether it’s doctor’s appointments, errands, or other obligations, dependent individuals can place a major strain on caretakers.

Types of Vehicles

Because no two family’s needs are the same, Vehicles for Change attempts to collect vehicles of all types. By accepting standard and versatile vehicles, it can find the right vehicle for each family. For example, a single mother with five children won’t find a compact car very practical. She needs a van or SUV that allows her to carpool her children around. However, parents with one small child may prefer a safe compact car optimal for their situation. While Vehicles for Change primarily deals with cars, it also distributes trucks and vans on a regular basis.

Benefits of Car Ownership

While the lack of car ownership comes with a number of consequences and negatives, having a car can bring a plethora of benefits – both physically and financially. For example, car ownership gives families the flexibility and convenience they need to tend to the desires of each family member. Car ownership also increases confidence and instills ownership, especially for teens learning to navigate their leisure time without parents. A low-income teen no longer sits on the sidelines for driver’s education; because of a vehicle donation, he or she can learn and gain experience with his/her peers.

How to Donate

If you are looking for a way to make a difference in the life of someone who truly needs help, consider vehicle donation as a form of generous giving. When you donate your vehicle, you can be sure it will be used – directly or financially – to help a family who truly needs it. With several options, there is an easy way to schedule your donation today. Donors are encouraged to visit the Vehicles for Change website for more information.

How to Apply

Families in need of a vehicle should fill out an online request form at the Vehicles for Change website. An outside agency can help families determine if they qualify for the VFC program.