Blog : 2018
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
Unlike most VFC car recipients, Cheyenne was not alone when she came to accept her VFC car award. Cheyenne was accompanied by her two case workers, Tara and Holly, from Caroline County DSS who wanted to share the moment with her! Cheyenne is a Baltimore native currently working at a nursing home in Denton, MD. Before owning her own vehicle, Cheyenne struggled to get to work, to the grocery store, and to doctor's visits for her two-year-old daughter. Having to walk everywhere, Cheyenne noted, “Walking with a two-year-old is not a fast process.”
Now with her newly-awarded VFC car award, Cheyenne can finally get where she needs to go at her own pace! Cheyenne even looks forward to traveling further than she was able to previously and stated that she can’t wait to take her daughter to Ocean City. “This is a huge blessing because of this program, my daughter and I don’t have to struggle...Continue Reading
For most, the holidays are a time of joy and celebration. Sadly, for Yasmine’s family, that was not the case. Yasmine is the proud mother of four beautiful children ages 11, 6, and twins, age 4. In November, Yasmine received the devastating news that her oldest daughter was diagnosed with diabetes. Things took another hard turn when in December, Yasmine’s car broke down leaving her family without independent transportation. With work being 10 miles away, Yasmine had to find some way to continue getting to work and her children to school. She began using ride sharing services. Not only was this costly, but the temperatures were dropping below freezing and Yasmine did not want her children to have to continue waiting outside. So, Yasmine took on the extra cost of renting a vehicle to keep her kids out of the cold.
At $30 per day, Yasmine has spent over $1,800 on the car rental alone....Continue Reading
Grace’s journey to car-ownership has been long. Originally from Kenya, Grace moved to the United States only a year ago. Without a car of her own, she was passed over for her first job opportunity but is now currently working in the IT sector as a communications technician. Before being awarded her Vehicles for Change car, Grace tried renting a car costing her $280 per week. With her paycheck barely meeting the car rental payment, she began using the bus which required a 30-minute walk before having to take two bus rides totaling 2 hours, one-way.
With osteoarthritis in her knees, Grace’s work commutes as well as bus rides to and from physical therapy were not only long, but painful. When asked how having her own car will affect her life, Grace emphatically answered, “positively!” She is excited to no longer have to worry about getting to work on time and is looking forward to doing...Continue Reading
Ashley makes it her business to help others. As a paratransit driver, Ashley aids clients with essential trips, like grocery shopping and doctors’ visits. Even at nine-months pregnant, Ashley worked from 4:00 AM to 2:00 PM helping clients into and out of the mobility van. Without her own vehicle, Ashley’s daily commute began even earlier with walking and waiting for a bus to transport her and her four-year-old son to daycare before heading to work.
Ashley explained that it is very difficult to complete basic errands and doctor’s visits while having to rely on buses and rides from others. With bills to pay and children to care for, using a ridesharing service like Lyft is a huge cost-burden for Ashley’s family costing upwards of $90 per week. With her new car, Ashley will be better able to keep up with necessary doctor’s visits and spend more quality time with her son and new baby girl....Continue Reading
Jewel is a mother of four children aged twenty, seventeen, ten and seven-years-old. She relies heavily on her mother to drive her, in order to get from place-to-place. Her mother is in need of hip replacement surgery but has decided to put it on the back burner until Jewel and her children are standing on their own two feet. With four kids to take care of, Jewel often times finds herself struggling to juggle everyday tasks, such as taking her youngest to school, traveling to the grocery store and laundry mat, or helping her eldest to get to work on time.
With this car award, Jewel cannot only drive herself to work but can also help her children get to school and work. Thus, giving her mother the time and space she needs to focus on her health. She explains, “This opened the doors for me to be a better mom to my kids.” Jewel also feels prideful that this is the first car that is in her ...Continue Reading