Angela is a native New Yorker who has recently moved to East Baltimore with her two-year-old son and her four-year-old daughter. Without a car of her own, Angela had to rely solely on Baltimore’s public transportation, often having to take two or more buses to get to work each day. She always worried about them arriving on time, if they ever arrived at all. Her entire commute took at least an hour, whereas it would take only 15 minutes by car. Every day, Angela had to walk her daughter to her school’s bus stop, then walk with her son for a mile just to take him to school.
Now, after receiving her low-cost car from Vehicles for Change, Angela can finally devote her time equally to both her children and her job. Additionally, having a vehicle of her own allows her to search for better employment opportunities further away from her home. She also plans on taking a family trip to the beach ...Continue Reading
Originally born in East Africa, Helen moved to the DMV area at a young age where she now raises her 12-year-old daughter. Life as a single working parent is no easy path to travel, especially when there is no affordable source of reliable transportation. Without a vehicle of her own, traveling to her job at the Department of Social Services in Prince George’s County was always a challenge. In order to get to work on time, Helen had to spend an average of $200 a week renting a car. Between the time it took to reserve the car to taking time off from work in order to return it, Helen found herself stretched thin as she tried to balance a healthy home and work life. She explained, “If there was ever an emergency with my daughter, I had to ask friends to get her from school. As a parent, you want to provide a sense of security, which causes me a lot of stress and anxiety.” She confessed...Continue Reading
Ameena is a hard-working mother of two beautiful girls, ages 8 and 5. Currently, Ameena works at a cemetery in Suitland Maryland as a sales counselor. Without her own transportation, Ameena used 3 buses to get her daughters to school and herself to work. However, the commute ended up amounting to 2.5 hours each way. “If I left work at 5:00 PM, my daughters and I wouldn’t get home until 7:30 PM,” she said.
With winter weather fast approaching, Ameena became concerned for her daughters’ health and opted to begin taking ride-sharing services. However, the costs quickly became too high, resulting in Ameena having to rent a car each week. “It felt like I was going to work just to be able to afford the drive to work!” With her exorbitant commuting costs, Ameena’s biggest struggle became not being able to save money. “I want to go back to school, but I can’t save up enough right now.”
With her ...Continue Reading
Born and raised in Baltimore, Sean currently works for the Baltimore County Public School System. His daily commute consists of two separate bus rides that can take up to an hour each way – something that is often troublesome for Sean, especially when trying to get his five-year-old son to school on time.
Without his own vehicle, Sean has found it challenging to successfully manage his responsibilities as a father. Sean wants to ensure his son gets to school and doctor’s visits on time while making sure he stays on time himself.
Now that Sean has the keys to his new Mazda, he feels like a new man. He feels as though he has more control over his life again. Sean can now take care of his responsibilities the way he would like to while helping eliminate some of the burden off of his son’s mother. Sean cannot wait to see what he can achieve with his new wheels. Sean would like to thank VFC...Continue Reading
Towanda is a traveling merchandiser whose commute to work is four hours one way. Due to the fact that she does not have her own vehicle, Towanda regularly rents cars to help her get to work which is a huge cost burden on her and her family. “It’s almost as if I’m working just to pay for my rental car,” she says.
Because her job requires such far travel, Towanda leaves a day in advance to ensure she gets to work on time. This means Towanda must leave her two young daughters (9 and 10-years-old) with their grandmother while she is away at work.
While her work schedule will not change, with her newly-awarded Rav-4, Towanda will finally be able to save her hard-earned money. She is also looking forward to getting her girls involved with after-school activities and traveling on the weekends. “Due to the high cost of the rental car, I would never keep it on the weekends, so we were generally...Continue Reading
Above all else, Frankie is a dedicated father to his sweet 4-year-old son. Frankie works hard to provide for his son but his daily commute is brutal with two connecting bus rides resulting in a 2.5-3 hour commute each way. Due to the unreliability of the public transit system, Frankie struggles to get to work on time despite leaving early. Not only that, but with the mounting costs of public transit (close to $400/ month), Frankie admitted that taking the bus each day takes a huge toll on his family’s finances.
Without personal transportation Frankie explained that the hardest thing is dealing with the elements – not only for himself but for his son. Currently, both father and son must wait outside – at times in freezing winds and rain – to get where they need to go. With winter just around the corner, Frankie explained, this vehicle could not come at a better time.
With his...Continue Reading
By Martin Schwartz, President
Last week, most of us found ourselves sitting at the Thanksgiving table surrounded by friends, family and other loved ones. There was turkey, stuffing and cranberries on thousands of tables here in the Baltimore area and, hopefully, the chance for each of us to be thankful for all that we have been afforded in life.
One of the things I am extremely grateful for is my relatively short (10 mile) commute to work. As much as I dislike the occasional traffic jam, I know that many you have it so much worse. Did you know that the average commute time in the Baltimore Metropolitan region is more than 30 minutes, only to be rivaled by mega cities like New York and Los Angeles? Or that drivers in the region spend about 47 hours stuck in traffic each year, according to the 2018 State of the Region Report?
25 years ago, when commuting to work, I would see individuals...Continue Reading
Despite her bright and happy smile, Sabrina has experienced a long, bumpy road full of challenges including having to leave a difficult home life when she was very young, and her younger sister, Marcie, behind.
Sabrina worked as an educator for 30 years before transitioning into a career in healthcare at a hospital in downtown Baltimore. In order to get to-and-from work each day, Sabrina had to rely heavily on friends, neighbors or Transportation Assistance Mobility, a service under Maryland’s Department of Transportation for senior citizens and those with disabilities. Without having her own car, and usually having to work the overnight shift at the hospital, Sabrina has been struggling to get to work on time. Additionally, Sabrina has issues with swelling in her legs that make it difficult for her to stand and wait for public transit, often in high-crime areas where her safety is at...Continue Reading
Safaa and his family fled to the U.S. from Iraq as refugees in December of 2016. Despite working as an aircraft engineer for 19 years at the Iraqi Aircraft Company, Safaa now works at a bakery in order to provide or his wife and three children ages 4, 3, and 4-months. Without his own transportation to rely on, Safaa has not been able to accept a second job despite wanting to earn more income for his family. This is in addition to the economic burden placed on the family by having to use expensive ride-sharing services to get to and from doctor’s appointments and grocery shopping.
With his newly awarded VFC vehicle, Safaa is looking forward to completing basic errands more easily. He also cannot wait to take his family to lunch at their favorite Afghani restaurant for a taste of home! Safaa excitedly mentioned that he loves cooking biryani and his wife is looking forward to visiting a...Continue Reading
For years Jessica struggled with alcohol addiction which left her homeless and straining to provide for her nine-year-old son who lives full-time in a mental treatment facility. When Jessica learned she was pregnant again, she knew things had to change. Luckily, Jessica was able to move in with a friend who also helped her get a job as a medical technician.
After working only 3 months, Jessica had 10 clients on her caseload. Jessica’s boss noticed her hard work and not only gave her a raise but allowed her to move into an apartment on the facility’s campus. Once Jessica had her baby, her boss knew Jessica would need even more support and allowed Jessica to move in with her.
Although Jessica was so grateful for the help, her boss had health problems as well as a child with disabilities of her own, so Jessica knew the situation would not be sustainable for long. Without bus routes near...Continue Reading