CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) – A non-profit group is helping West Virginians get on the road to independence. Here’s how local organizations are providing our neighbors in need with a much-needed lift.
Brandi Edwards has struggled with addiction in the past, but she’s turned the corner on a dark chapter and turned the keys to a new car. Thanks to the Good News Mountaineer Garage and their “Keys to Success Program” people like Brandi have access to a reliable vehicle.
“I’m a person in long-term recovery, I’ll have three years sober in October and I’ve taken all the steps necessary to change every facet of my life. So the more help I can get better,” Edwards said.
For 15 years, Ron Wiles Jr. with Good News Mountaineer Garage has been dedicated to ensuring West Virginians who are down on their luck aren’t missing out on opportunities because they can’t afford a reliable vehicle.
“Transportation is a huge problem in our state we see about a third of the state that has public transportation. So many people can’t get to work. We have so many people that are willing to work that aren’t really able to make ends meet,” Wiles said.
Wiles says the car from the program isn’t free and the recipient does have to pay for it. However, thanks to the program, recipients like Edwards can do so with a low-interest loan for up to three years. According to Wiles, those making the donation also benefit from the program.
“We’re partnering with dealers and whatever we can get the dealer to knock off the price of the car I can offer them back a state tax credit in return to get them to participate,” Wiles said.
“You just have to have, basically, a job, tax returns, pay stubs,” Edwards said. “There’s a couple other stipulations you have to be 200% below the national poverty level of income, but it was real easy. It’s a great program, and I hope this does really help other people.”
Edwards says the gift of transportation is about more than just getting from Point A to Point B.
“It’s an all-wheel drive. It gives me every opportunity to make sure that I make it to work without worrying about breaking down and making it to my family when I say I’m going to be there,” Edwards said.
The Good News Mountaineer Garage also has a program to help people interested apply for a loan and learn about credit and purchasing a vehicle. Edwards’ new car was purchased through Stephen’s Auto Center.