NOTTINGHAM, MD—In recognition of its 20th anniversary, Vehicles for Change and its long-time partner, Heritage | MileOne Autogroup, this week presented 20 cars to 20 local families whose lives will be transformed by having access to personal transportation.
“We are really excited about celebrating 20 years of serving families in the Maryland and Virginia area,” says Martin Schwartz, president of Vehicles for Change. “We feel fortunate to be able to award 20 cars to 20 families due to our partnership with Heritage | MileOne Autogroup.”
Since 1999, Vehicles for Change has empowered low-income families across Maryland to achieve economic and personal independence by providing them with access to transportation. As part of its longstanding partnership with Vehicles for Change, Heritage | MileOne Autogroup has committed more than 170 vehicles, valued at over $1 million, to area families in need of transportation and Heritage has also hired nine auto technicians from Vehicles for Change’s Full Circle Training Program, a re-entry program for ex-offenders and under/unemployed individuals.
“You cannot put a price-tag on the value of changing people’s lives through transportation, and it is very humbling to be able to contribute to so many people whose work ethic, pride and determination to improve their lives is so powerful,” said Steven Fader, CEO for MileOne Autogroup. “The 20 cars from today brings our commitment to Vehicles for Change to more than 170 cars over the recent years, and we look forward to many more opportunities to transform the lives of those in our community.”
One vehicle recipient, Listra Williams, a certified nursing assistant at LifeBridge Health’s Northwest Hospital, was surprised this morning as Northwest Hospital President Craig Carmichael joined MileOne Autogroup Chief Operations Officer Scott Fader and Vehicles for Change Executive Director Marty Schwartz in handing her keys to her car during her shift. Williams’ found herself without personal transportation about a year ago when her car’s transmission broke unexpectedly. Working hard to put three children through college and keep a roof over her head, buying a new vehicle just wasn’t a feasible option.
Maryland Secretary of Human Services Lourdes R. Padilla, Maryland Department of Labor Executive Director Michael R. DiGiacomo, and Baltimore City Mayor Bernard C. “Jack” Young then joined MileOne Autogroup Chief Executive Officer Steven Fader at Heritage Toyota Owings Mills where an additional 19 vehicles were presented to the following recipients rounding out the 20 for 20 celebration:
- Dajuah McDougald (Windsor Mill) – a single mother of an eleven-month-old son who relied on four ride-share vehicles to get her son to daycare, herself to work, and both of them home in the evening.
- Tiffany Thompson (Dunalk) – a homecare nurse whose car was was totaled, causing her to pay for a weekly car rental, which she could not sustainably afford due to a decrease in work as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Desvin Gabbidon (Upper Marlboro) – an overnight security guard who struggled to get to-and-from work each night due to limited public transportation schedules in his area.
- Wumie Konteh (Hyattsville) – a paralegal for the United States Army whose average commute took three hours.
- Ebony Covert (Owings Mills) – a mother of three and Case Worker at the Department of Social Services who relied on ride sharing services to take her children to daycare and public transportation to get to work.
- Kareem Anthony (Glen Oak) – a father of three preparing to start a new job in sales as the state continues reopening.
- Aleeseea Jones (Grantsville) – a Walmart cashier and self-checkout assistant who looks forward to utilizing her new vehicle to go back to school and advance her education.
- Morgan Cherice Evans (Glen Oak) – a mother of three and haircare specialist who is unable to make house calls for clients without personal transportation and plans to launch her own brand of haircare products.
- Andre Jones (Columbia) – a experienced barber who must use ride sharing services to get to work and assist his family memebers in their day-to-day activities.
- Sherise Crichlow (Forestville) – a mother of two living in Prince Georges County.
- Rosario Gonzales (Glen Oak) – a former Greyhound and Peter Pan bus lines employee who, when unable to carpool to-and-from work, relied on public transportation with an average commute upwards of two and a half hours.
- Meghan MacDougall (Baltimore City) – a mother of four living in Baltimore City, Maryland.
- Rob Bullock (Nottingham) – an Amazon employee who recently underwent open-heart surgery, which caused extreme financial strain on his life and affected his credit.
- Brittaney Nelson (Accokeek) – a single mother of two 20-month old twins who was forced to move back in with her parents after not being able to afford transportation to-and-from work each day.
- C.P. (Bethesda) – a non-governmental organization employee who lives withing walking distance to work, but struggles with a chronic immune disease that impacts her mobility.
- Michelle Berry-Green (Towson) – a mother of three and medical billing expert who had to take public transportation to a deignated meeting location so she could carpool with a coworker.
- Cheree Edwards (Upperco) – a mother of two and Adminitrative Assistant who relied on the kindness of friends, family, neighbors, and ride sharing services to get to work each day.
- Jada Little (Edgewood) – a mother to one daughter who had to rely on family for transportation and who will be starting a new assistant job on July 1st.
- Tyrea Covington (Glen Burnie) – a Community Support Assistant at The ARC Central Region who relied on ride sharing services to get to work each day.
“This is a truly humbling experience and I am so grateful for the opportunities having personal transportation will afford me in life moving forward,” says Brittaney Nelson, a “20 for 20” recipient and mother of twins, Tatum and Blair. “Before Vehicles for Change and Heritage | MileOne Autogroup, I was spending upwards of $900 to get from point A to point B while relying on ride sharing apps, but no longer – I can now travel on my own time and save money while I’m at it!”