Last month, a donor approached the Haven about donating their Toyota Prius if it could be utilized by one of our clients. The donor explained, “We know how challenging it can be to have an independent life in the Upper Valley without a car. So when we decided that our Prius was ready for a new home, Upper Valley Haven was the natural choice for us. We have been so impressed by their work and we were confident that they would find a client who could use the car productively.”
Fortunately, the timing was right and Service Coordinator, Maria Rodis, offered the names of a couple she is working with who are staying in a local hotel through Vermont’s General Assistance temporary housing program and could benefit from having a car to help them pursue their goals towards greater independence. Maria noted, “To be without transportation in rural Vermont is to be without access to opportunity and ultimately without access to safety. A vehicle of one’s own means being able to get to work, to the store or food shelf, to the laundromat, to childcare, and to doctors’ appointments. It means freedom and self-sufficiency. I think everyone deserves that.”
The couple, Sombot and Morgan, worked with Maria to arrange the necessary paperwork and fees for vehicle registration and became the new owners of the vehicle in mid-January. (Sombot and their infant son, Oliver, are pictured here after receiving the keys.) Morgan said, “This car means so much to us. Almost two months ago, Sombot’s car stopped working randomly and it was too expensive to try to fix, and this was around the time we became homeless. It was devastating and we weren’t sure what we would do. It feels like a true miracle and blessing to have received this car. It makes things easier for us and it feels good knowing we aren’t going into debt trying to maintain it. We appreciate it greatly.”
A vehicle is a key tool to help Haven guests and clients be able to find and secure housing while balancing the many responsibilities of daily life, particularly in a rural area like the Upper Valley. There are many connections between poverty, transportation, food access, and overall health. A brief primer on the interconnectedness of these issues and complexity of making progress in the fight against poverty, hunger, and homelessness can be heard in this podcast episode featuring Hunger Free Vermont.
We were so pleased that this donor’s generosity and the needs of this family aligned. Should a member of the community like to make a vehicle donation, they can contact the Haven’s Development department at 802-478-1803 or via email.
The Haven Through 40 Years
The Haven will commemorate its four decades of service to the region by releasing 40 stories of people, events, ideas, and services fundamental to our mission. We will be releasing these stories weekly, so check back often.