This is the second year that the Maryland non-profit Vehicles for Change hosted a holiday car giveaway. (Photo courtesy of J.J. McQueen)

By Megan Sayles, AFRO Business Writer
Report for America Corps Member

Vehicles for Change (VFC), a Maryland-based nonprofit that works to end generational poverty, on Monday gifted new cars, as well as toys, to three Maryland families. This is the second year that the organization is doing holiday car donations.

“ is definitely very important because oftentimes, it gives people an opportunity to get jobs that are further away,” said Simone Baptiste, director of communications for VFC. “It allows families to take shifts that they were not able to do.” 

On Monday, the new cars were awarded to Darryenne Ford, a Baltimore City resident and mother of two; Brittany Briscoe, a Dundalk resident and mother of three; and Raven Hawkings, a Baltimore City resident and mother of three. 

The recipients were chosen based on referrals from social service agencies and work development organizations that VFC collaborates with. 

The cars cost $950, and the recipients are responsible for obtaining car insurance. VFC partners with Sandy Spring Bank to offer a 12-month, low-interest loan for recipients who cannot pay the $950 out of pocket, which can help them improve their credit score.  

Hawkings looks forward to using the car to take her children on trips to Dave & Buster’s. Ford will finally be able to transition from part-time work to a full-time job. Briscoe plans to go back to school, and her new car will make the commute easier. 

“I never won anything in my life, and I feel like I just won the lottery,” said Briscoe. 

VFC, which started in 1999, helps families achieve financial stability through its car donation and re-entry internship programs. The nonprofit receives 99% of its car donations from the public, and since its inception, VFC has awarded over 6,800 cars to low-income families. 

Its Full Circle Auto Repair and Training Center, which began in 2015, teaches formerly incarcerated individuals how to become mechanics. After completing the program, participants are guaranteed a job. 

Through the holiday car donations, VFC wishes to give families access to opportunities for better jobs and healthcare, as well as the ability to take their children to extracurricular activities. Baptiste hopes that the recipients can use their new cars to embark on adventures with their children. 

“ are just helping our families, giving them a hand-up, not a handout,” said Baptiste. “Our goal is to just definitely be a blessing to these families.”

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Meg Kinnard and Susanne M. Schafer

Associated Press