BURLINGTON, Vt. — Burlington’s Good News Garage is celebrating 20 years in business. Two decades ago, Hal Colston, a social worker at the time, saw many in his community lacked one major thing to get themselves out of poverty, a car.
Over the course of two decades, 4,400 cars have been donated and then given to families in need.
On Wednesday a single mother from Swanton was handed a set of keys at the flagship shop in the Queen City.
For the past two years, Cynthia Stutler has been borrowing cars and riding a bike to get to work.
“My mom had Alzheimer’s and we had a joint vehicle, and she was the primary (owner) on the vehicle. She was placed in state care, and it became part of the state's property,” Stutler said.
Day in and day out, she needed to figure out how to take care of her two teenage daughters, without a car.
“At the end of the day, I would ride home, and because I passed by grocery stores, I would make sure that my backpack was empty enough that I would load it up with food, necessities, if the kids needed something,” Stutler said.
Stutler applied to get a donated car from Good News Garage. With recommendations from her family and friends, a set of keys was handed to her during the 20th birthday party celebration on Wednesday.
“There are no words on this planet that can represent the gratitude and the blessing I have been given and feel for the people that heard my plea of help,” Stutler said.
A similar story can be told by some 70 Vermonters a year that receive cars from the nonprofit.