SOMERSWORTH — Reliable transportation is something Kathleen Sidlik does not take for granted.
Previously the owner of a car with myriad maintenance issues, such as leaking oil and an engine that constantly broke down, the Somersworth resident recently was able to purchase a refurbished car through a New England-based charity. The result has been a huge benefit for the 42-year-old single mother.
“No ‘check engine’ light, no oil leaks, no squeaky brakes,” Sidlik said. “Obviously, no one has a crystal ball, but it’s good to know that it won’t break down on me out of the blue.”
Sidlik bought her car through an organization called Good News Garage, a New England based car donation charity that accepts donated vehicles that are refurbished and then used to help people in need.
“It’s a huge stress relief,” Sidlik said. “I’m a single mom to an 11-year-old boy who goes to a charter school. I have to drive him from Somersworth to Dover, so having a reliable vehicle is important.”
Last week, Sidlik took her first ride in her 2001 Honda CRV.
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“It’s an older car, but it only has 86,000 miles on it,” Sidlik said. “I was told it was an old couple who donated it.”
Sidlik has rheumatoid arthritis, a condition which affects the lining of joints, causing a painful swelling that can eventually result in bone and joint damage. As a result, she has not been able to work full time for about 12 years, she said.
“I have chronic pain,” she said. “Every day it’s a struggle to do some of the basics. My pain level is higher than any normal person, it makes getting around difficult.”
There are a number of channels through which Good News Garage gets vehicles to people in need. While some receive their refurbished car for free, Sidlik qualified for her CRV through its JumpStart program, which allowed her to purchase the car at a discount.
Bob Buckley, director of operations at Good News Garage, said his organization recently provided its 5,000th car to someone in need. He said Good News Garage is selective about the cars it accepts as donations, and they are refurbished to ensure the recipient will get as much use out of it as possible.
“Not every car makes the cut,” Buckley said. “If the car fails, then we’ve failed.”
Those interested in donating a used vehicle to Good News Garage are encouraged to visit goodnewsgarage.org.