Internet Exclusive: Goodwill Industries of Middle Tennessee kicked off an exciting new program this past week. The Wheels-to-Work Program was established to help Goodwill employees and clients eliminate the barrier of transportation. The program gives donated vehicles to qualified Goodwill employees or clients who cannot afford to purchase a car at this time and need one to get to work.
Goodwill President and CEO Matthew Bourlakas presented the first three recipients the keys to their “new” vehicles during a special ceremony in downtown Nashville. “The guiding philosophy of Goodwill has been grounded in the belief that productive, paid work is integral to the positive self-esteem of individuals and to the success of the communities in which those individuals live,” said Bourlakas. “One of the keys to gainful employment is being able to get to your work.”
More than 20 people applied to receive a vehicle through the Wheels-to-Work program. A selection committee made up of Goodwill employees from various departments helped to determine who was eligible to participate. In order to qualify for the program, participants had to meet certain qualifications such as being employed at least 30 hours, having a valid driver’s license and good driving record. After being notified of acceptance into the program, participants had to complete training classes on budgeting, defensive driving and car maintenance.
This is only Goodwill’s first vehicle presentation. There are several employees on a waiting list for the program, so if you have a vehicle you’d like to donate, know that it will be put to good use.
Meet the First Three Recipients
Evan McAuley - 2001 Cadillac Catera (burgundy)
Evan is a processor at our Goodwill store in Lebanon. She lives more than 50 miles from the Goodwill store where she works. There is no public transportation in her area, so Evan has to rely on other people to give her a ride to work, which is a daily struggle. Despite Evan’s barrier to transportation her manager said she works 40 hours per week and is always on time. For Evan, receiving a vehicle through this program will give her the break she has been looking for.
Jonnie Ogletree – 1998 Chevrolet Cavalier (gold)
Johnnie is a textile grader at our Goodwill warehouse in Nashville. She has to get up at 4:30am and catch two buses just to get to work on time. In addition, Johnnie had a total knee replacement last year, and walking is beginning to affect her hip joint. Lack of transportation has even prevented Johnnie from obtaining her own housing. According to her manager, these obstacles have not stopped Jonnie from having a good work ethic and good attendance. For Johnnie, receiving a vehicle through the program is a blessing.
Augustine Collier – 1996 Ford Exploer (green)
Augustine is an associate in the Goodwill Call Center. He has struggled with having to rely on the bus to get to work. Augustine has even had to wait over an hour just to get home due to limited bus schedule for his route. Although Augustine relies on the bus, his supervisor stated that he is always on time and ready to work. For Augustine, receiving a vehicle through this program means renewed independence.
About Goodwill Industries of Middle Tennessee, Inc.
For more than 55 years Goodwill Industries of Middle Tennessee has provided job training and job placement free of charge to people with disabilities or other barriers to employment through the sale of donated items. Since January 2013, Goodwill has served 9,564 people in Middle and West Tennessee and placed 2,041 clients in jobs. For more information about Goodwill’s Career Solutions, retail stores and donation centers, please visit www.giveit2goodwill.org or call 1-800-545-9231.