With a car, there is hope for opportunities and a life of independence.
In Northern Virginia and, especially, in the beltway, transportation options are seemingly endless; the metro, buses, VRE, Amtrak, ridesharing services, taxis, and personal vehicles. However, the poor and vulnerable, especially those who cannot afford to live near public transportation, have a different view.
According to a national, continuing Harvard University study about children and families breaking the cycle of poverty, commuting time has been found to be the single strongest factor. The study found that the longer an average commute, the chances decreases for a low-income family’s ability to achieve upward mobility. (Read more here).
Enter the ever-growing Catholic Charities Diocese of Arlington Car Ministry Program, which provides vehicles to low-income families that need transportation to better their lives. The program also provides a means for people who want to help others by donating their working and not so good condition vehicles. Running cars are given to families in need, and cars that have seen better days are towed and sold, with the proceeds benefiting Catholic Charities programs.
In 2017, 62 cars were provided to qualified families in need of transportation. These vehicles enable our diocesan neighbors to navigate Northern Virginia and facilitate access to jobs, education, healthcare and other essential services. With a car, there is hope for opportunities and a life of independence.
In addition to providing vehicles to families that apply directly to the Car Ministry Program, other CCDA and Diocesan ministries are securing the benefits of reliable transportation for their clients. Donated cars have been given to seminarians, religious sisters, eligible Catholic Charities clients, and families in need referred by parishes.
Unfortunately, there are always many more applicants than cars available. Please consider donating your vehicle today! Since the vehicles are given to our clients, donors may take the full, fair market value of the car as a tax deduction.
Do not have a car to donate but want to get involved? Implement the Church’s mission of social justice by volunteering with the Car Ministry! Also, the Car Ministry is looking for a summer college intern. Through direct client interaction, volunteers and interns will work with CCDA staff and volunteers to organize and receive vehicle donations, and develop program outreach and marketing.
Have questions? Want to get involved? Contact the Car Ministry at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please note that this program is largely run by volunteers.