In 2004, Kristy, a single mom, was struggling to get to work, care for her young son and attend school. She was receiving state assistance and life without a car was a challenge. Then Kristy received her donated car from Good News Garage New Hampshire and her life changed. ‘When I found out about my car, I couldn’t believe it! I needed a car so badly. I was so happy that I cried!’"
This is just the first part of Kristy’s story, published on the Good News Garage website. It turns out that in 2008, after completing school and working for two years as a teacher, Kristy was finally back on her feet. She purchased a van for her family.
So what happened to Kristy’s Good News Garage car?
She donated it back to the Garage, so that someone else could use it. “I loved that Subaru, it was my baby and I’m glad someone else will be able to use and love it! Everybody needs help in different ways, so I try to give back…pay it forward”, said Kristy recently.
Good News Garage was founded in Jericho, Vermont in 1996 by Hal Colston, Rev. Frederick "Rick" Neau, Bill Valliere and Rev. Doug Ward with help from a Social Ministry outreach Project of Lutheran Social Services.
The basic idea was to help people who were struggling in the community to find employment, which is nearly unattainable without reliable transportation. Many of the jobs that provided a living wage were outside the community. The founders decided to help them achieve their goals, and Hal’s "community garage" started fixing up donated cars, trucks and vans for people who were in desperate need.
Initially funded mostly by Lutheran Social Services and Wheat Ridge Ministries, Good News Garage immediately made an impact and hasn’t stopped since. New fundraisers were to follow as the outreach program grew and expanded across the northeast. There are now Good News Garages in Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Rhode Island in addition to Vermont.
Good News Garage takes monetary and material donations as well as donations of used cars and trucks and donations are tax deductible. Money and materials are used to help them keep up with the need for automotive parts, inspections, fuel and other costs.
Donated vehicles are provided to low-income families based who qualify during the application process. In many cases, a used car or van is the only thing needed to help a family take those first steps toward a better life and financial stability. Donated cars and trucks that prove too costly to repair or are in severe states of disrepair as well as premium-level luxury cars and those not well suited for family use are liquidated at auction. Proceeds from auctioned vehicles are then applied to the program in the same manner as monetary donations.
In addition to providing affordable cars, trucks and vans to families, there is an interim transportation service available as well. Ready To Go provides transportation to those who need temporary help getting to job training, interviews, school and childcare. The van transportation service provides approximately 60,000 rides for those in need annually.
Individuals interested in donating a used vehicle to the program as well as those interested in applying to become a recipient may learn more by visiting the group’s website.