Vehicles for Change celebrates 15 years of service

HALETHORPE, Md. - Fifteen years ago Tuesday, Vehicles for Change started awarding cars to families who couldn't afford them.

The organization celebrated their birthday by – you guessed it – giving away cars.

"Before I had a car my life was full of mediocrity the only thing I could think about was logistics,” said Lisa Phillips, a Vehicles for Change alumnae recipient. “How am I going to get to the doctors?  How are we going to get to the grocery store? How am I going to get to the laundromat?”

Simply put, Phillips' life was dramatically changed by receiving a car from Vehicles for Change.

“I can say that receiving that car 13 years ago opened my mind to think of other things,” she said.

Martin Schwartz, president for Vehicles for Change added: “If you don't have a car and you don't have access to public transportation, your ability to have a job and maintain a job is virtually impossible,” he said.

The gift of a car took Phillips’ life from 0 to 70 mph.

“I'm the director of vocational services for Guardenzea,” she said. “I'm the current MBA student for the University of Baltimore. I have a small business.”

Seeing the continued success of the program, 15 cars were awarded today, freeing people to go get to their dreams.

 “I have 4 children,” said LaToyia Newman-Gross, a Vehicles for Change recipient. “I also have a home daycare and we recently had issues getting around. It’s such a great relief. I haven't felt this light in a long time.”

Latoya Matthews is another Vehicles for Change recipient. The Baltimore City resident works in White Marsh and said it took her an hour to get to work when riding a bus. The commute was cut to 20 minutes thanks to a donated vehicle.

“If somebody has a good car that the want to donate that they want to see really make a difference not just financially for them for the tax stand point but for a family in Maryland vehicles for change is absolutely the best place to donate your car,” Schwartz said.

This November, Vehicles for Change will award its 5000th car. If you'd like to donate a car, go to the website vehiclesforchange.org or you can call 410-242-9674.

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