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‘This gift means the world’: Baltimore veterans receive cars to assist in everyday life

By Lisa Robinson

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    BALTIMORE (WBAL) — Having a vehicle can substantially change lives. It gives access and helps people get to their jobs, health care and support their children.

In honor of those who have served in the United States Armed Forces, the nonprofit, Vehicles for Change, and a local auto dealership are giving away vehicles to those who have served the country.

WBAL-TV 11 News spoke with some recipients who couldn’t be more grateful.

“Vehicles for Change does a great job for those who have to make a choice on how convenient their life can be,” Army veteran Chante Kiley-Washington said.

Kiley-Washington is one of 10 veterans to get cars from Vehicles for Change and Heritage Mile One Auto Group in honor of Veterans Day.

Vehicles for Change helps provide stability for lower-income people with car donations and their re-entry internship program.

“It’s about serving those people who served our country for so many years and being able to provide them with access to life because they don’t have right now because they don’t have access to a vehicle, so we provided 10 cars to 10 veterans,” Marty Schwartz, of Vehicles for Change, said.

Veterans helped hand over the keys for these pre-owned vehicles. Kiley-Washington enlisted right out of high school. She’s taking care of three of her sister’s children. For her, this car is a life-altering gift.

“To have to take small children on public transportation during this time of COVID is just not safe. I can now take them to football games. They want extracurricular activities, we had to screen what we could do according to buses,” Kiley-Washington said.

Joseph Owens is an Army veteran. He’s grateful the days of standing in the cold waiting for the bus are behind him.

“This is my first car. I’m in school full-time. I’m working also the fact that I’m a returning citizen also just not having to get up at 5 o’clock in the morning and deal with the weather,” Owens said.

Or worry about the car breaking down.

“When they get a car from Vehicles for Change, they get a six-month 6,000-mile warranty and they can bring their car back to our facility and get it repaired as long as they own it at our cost,” Schwartz said.

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