Non-profit helps people with low-incomes obtain cars

Published: Dec. 24, 2018 at 8:35 AM EST
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A non-profit group is hoping to improve the quality of life of people with lower incomes in Harrisonburg and Rockingham County by helping them obtain vehicles.

Rodrigue Makelele, who studies at Eastern Mennonite University's Center for Justice and Peacebuilding, was assisted by the Way to Go program

He lived in Rockingham County for over a year without a car.

"Walking was 50 minutes walking from EMU," said Makelele. "Mountain biking in Rockingham was also challenging. I remember the sheriff stopping me every time and saying, 'Do you need any help," and I'm like, 'No I'm good. I'm gonna keep trying you know?'"

Way to Go relies on people to donate cars. In return, they receive a tax deduction.

"We come to a shop such as Whitmer's Tire and Auto, make sure they're roadworthy, put a new inspection sticker on them," explained Executive Director Benjamin Craig. "As far as the clients concerned, clients have to live in Harrisonburg/Rockingham, have to be employed, and have to be referred by a community agency or organization," he said.

Makelele was referred by New Bridges, and received his car in September.

"I feel relieved, free and very delighted because I need to keep up with the job," said Makelele.

This year, the non-profit has awarded more than 20 vehicles.

"It's one of the most basic needs that often gets overlooked," said Craig.

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