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Local non-profit helps families get back on the road to independence

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CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WOWK) – Since 2001, the non-profit “Good News Mountaineer Garage” (GNMG) on Charleston’s West Side has been helping low-income West Virginia families get back on the road to independence.

The organization is an auto shop with two locations in Charleston and Morgantown, where they take in donated cars that are in all kinds of conditions, fix them and then give them to West Virginians in need of transportation for free.

GNMG Deputy Director, Ron Wiles said, “A lot of times you feel like Santa Claus giving these cars out. I tell people, sometimes giving someone a 10-year-old, 200,000-mile car really changes their life.”

This is possible because of a grant given to the Department of Health and Human Resources through the TANF program (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families).

To date, GNMG has given 3,250 donated cars.

Those who donate their cars receive a federal tax deduction based on the book value, but West Virginia lawmakers want to encourage more people to donate by giving them up to a $2,000 state tax credit.

GNMG helped draft a bill, House Bill 4969, that would create a new program that will help provide low-income families cars at a low monthly payment they can afford while offering classes to teach them financial responsibility.

“It makes them more independent. I think a lot of people out there are good, hardworking people, they just don’t have a lot of good experience, they don’t have a lot of opportunity, so providing them the opportunity to have transportation to be able to get to work is crucial,” said Wiles.

The bill passed the State Senate on a 33 to 1 vote. That one vote was absentee. If Governor Jim Justice signs the bill into law, the tax credit program won’t begin until next year and would cost the state $330,000 annually.

If you are interested in donating your car to GNMG, you can make a donation request online, or give them a call at (866) 448-3227. They will pick up your car at your convenience.

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