A 'life-changing gift' for local woman
BRATTLEBORO — Most of us take for granted having a car in which to get to work or to cart the kids around.
But for Sarah Eubner, a mother of four from Athens, a car was just something she couldn't afford.
"I've been trying to come up with the money," said Eubner. "But because I didn't have a car I had multiple different jobs and it was hard to save enough money."
In January, Eubner received a 2008 Subaru Outback from Good News Garage, a Burlington-based nonprofit that receives donated cars, fixes them up and gives them to people who need them.
"This life-changing gift was made possible by a generous Vermont donor," stated the press release announcing the donation to Eubner.
"This means a lot to me," said Eubner. "Now I actually have transportation to get the kids to the doctor and to get back and forth to work."
Eubner, who now works for Twin State Tire, had been working at the Sunoco gas station in Chester and depending on family members to get her to work and back.
"I want to thank Good News Garage," she said. "I couldn't have done it without their help. I really appreciate it."
Eubner heard about Good New Garage through Reach Up, a program administered by the Vermont Department of Children and Families that is designed to help low-income parents gain job skills and find work so they can support their minor children.
Tom Kupfer, marketing specialist for Good News Garage, said that nearly all of the people who have received free cars in Vermont have been participants in Reach Up.
"Their caseworkers advocate for them," said Kupfer. "We don't have any role in who gets a car."
When Good News Garage first started, it had its own garage and mechanics to fix up donated vehicles. Kupfer said it is now more cost-efficient for Good News Garage to contract with local mechanics, which leaves them with more resources to help people in need and also supports local businesses.
In Windham County, Haviland's Service Station in Brattleboro is Good News Garage's local partner.
"A lot of the donated cars we get are not road worthy and can't pass inspection," said Kupfer. "The No. 1 culprit is rust. The engines work fine and they may look good from a distance, but they require several thousands of dollars worth of work."
Reach Up determines who is in greatest need of a vehicle and matches them up with Good News Garage, which supplies a car with the understanding that the new owner will take care of it with regular maintenance checks and oil changes.
"For some people, this is the only way they can get onto a path to self-sufficiency," said Kupfer.
Good News Garage also supplies vehicles to people throughout New England, providing 5,000 since 1996. It was founded by Hal Colston, of Winooski, Pastor Frederick "Rick" Neu, Bill Valliere and Reverend Doug Ward. It received seed money from Lutheran Social Services, now Ascentria Care Alliance, and a grant from Wheat Ridge Ministries, which is now known as We Raise Foundation.
In Vermont, Good News Garage also offers other services, such as Ready to Go, which provides rides for clients to access essential life activities including jobs, training and childcare, and the JumpStart program, which provides refurbished, donated vehicles to qualified working individuals at an affordable, subsidized cost.
To donate a vehicle or cash to Good News Garage, visit www.goodnewsgarage.org or call 877-448-3288.
Bob Audette can be contacted at 802-254-2311, ext. 151, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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