An Anne Arundel County family was among three area families that received a car just days before Christmas through the nonprofit Vehicles for Change. The keys were handed over to the recipients during a celebration Dec. 20 at the organization’s facility in Halethorpe.
Derrick Sanders of Severn is a single father of two boys, Daleon, 3 and Emilion, 1. Sanders works as a forklift operator, loading and unloading trucks and handling inventory management. He’s also earned a certificate in entrepreneurship and plans on furthering his education, according to a Vehicles for Change news release.
His commute by bus was up to two hours each way, according to the news release. With his own vehicle, Sanders’ commute is only 22 minutes, the organization said.
“It feels great to start the car,” Sanders said. “I can spend more time and money on my children. I’m so grateful to Vehicles for Change. It is changing my life.”
Sanders said he is excited to spend more time with his children and the first fun place they plan on visiting is the National Aquarium, according to the news release.
The other two families who received cars included a single mom of two young children from Cecil County and a single mom of a toddler from Baltimore County. Both recipients shared difficulty in getting their children to daycare programs, long bus commutes to work and costly rideshare expenses, according to the organization.
Vehicles for Change repairs donated cars and awards them to pre-qualified families for as little as $950, enabling low-income families to become self-sufficient, according to a news release. The nonprofit organization receives 99% of its car donations from the public.
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Since 1999, Vehicles for Change has awarded more than 7,500 vehicles to low-income families. About 75% of the recipients have been able to get better jobs and increase their earnings, according to a news release.
“Transportation is the number one barrier to employment for people living in poverty,” said Martin Schwartz, Vehicles for Change founder and president. “Owning a car can make a big difference in someone’s life.”