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LETTER: Vehicles for Change

2/26/2015, 6 a.m.
The recent national headline highlighting a Detroit man's 21-mile on-foot commute from his urban home to a factory job in ...
James Robertson, whose 21-mile round-trip work commute garnered worldwide attention and more than $300,000 in donations, got more than just lunch. The 56-year-old is now the owner of a brand new 2015 Ford Taurus. (Photo: Courtesy Evan Leedy)

Editor:

Re: Vehicles for Change

The recent national headline highlighting a Detroit man's 21-mile on-foot commute from his urban home to a factory job in the suburbs dramatically highlights the importance of transportation for low-income individuals in our nation's metropolitan communities, especially as it relates to access to employment.

READ MORE: Detroit man who commuted by foot 21 miles a day surprised with a donated car

James Robertson's humbleness, dedication and work ethic are extremely admirable, but his story is just one of many, as the pervasive issue plagues thousands in Baltimore alone, with more than 80,000 households lacking a car. Oftentimes, transit systems in metropolitan areas are slow, inconvenient and lack sufficient metro-wide coverage, and Baltimore is no exception. Only 25 percent of low and middle-skill level jobs in the Baltimore area are even accessible via public transit.

Individuals like James are the very reason why Vehicles for Change (VFC) was founded 16 years ago. VFC's mission is to empower low-income families with financial challenges to achieve economic and personal independence through car ownership and technical training. While VFC is not the singular solution to our nation's transportation's issues, we strive to provide opportunities to as many people possible through our car award program. And, since our beginnings, we have awarded nearly 5,000 vehicles, improving the lives of more than 16,500 individuals in the Baltimore and capital metro area.

For those who heard James' story and wondered, "How can I help?" look no further for your answer. While he was fortunate enough to receive a new vehicle in-kind from a Ford dealership and hundreds of thousands of dollars in public donations, thousands of individuals just like him in our very own backyard continue to struggle every day.

VFC needs public car donations to continue providing low-income families with affordable car ownership and access to employment. VFC accepts all donations, no matter what condition the vehicle is in, and offers the maximum possible tax deduction allowed by IRS regulations. Donate your car today and support economic mobility.

Marty Schwartz

President, Vehicles for Change Inc.

Halethorpe, MD