Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Free Cars For Single Moms

If you're reading my blog, you're either a single mom in need of a car or someone trying to help a single mom in need of a car--and you're just the people I'd like to talk to! I know what it feels like to be where you are.

I'm a single mom. No surprise, right? Well, my story is long and maybe remarkable, but what's important to me at this time is that since I've been a single mom--the last three years--I've lost three cars. I'm currently in need of my fourth. Because I'm in this position, I've become aware that I'm not the only one. So, I've decided that what I need to do, what I'd love to do, is much more than finding new reliable transportation for myself--I want to be a part of something positive in the lives of many other women out there facing some of the same challenges I'm facing.

I know there are a lot of different ways to look at charitable organizations. One thing that I think I will run into here is the resistance of people who see some people as "unworthy" and as having crated their own problems. Well, to one extent or another, that's true of us all. And I don't like to think of issues such as "worthiness" of mothers, because the kids they are raising are ALWAYS worthy.

So, this is it. I want to create some sort of organization that can help provide reliable and appropriate transportation for single mothers. There is a serious need for this. As a single mother I can assure you that it is terrifying to know that all that stands between my son and the street is me. I do my best, but feel frighteningly inadequate sometimes.

Ideally, mothers, single and married, always have a strong network of friends and family for support. Unfortunately, reality is much less than ideal for most of us, and downright crippling for some of us. I want to help myself. I want to help other's too.

If a single mom loses her car, she can't get to work. She can't buy groceries and household essentials. She can't take her child to the emergency room for an asthma attack, broken limb, or other need. Once she can't work, she can't pay rent or mortgage. A car is essential. A long enough period of carelessness will lead to homelessness. Less stability in a child's life will lead to lower grades, lower self esteem, lower expectations, and an adult hood of struggling.

Any parent out there can attest that it's very difficult to raise a child. Doing everything alone can make things exponentially more difficult. As a single parent, I am the only one in my family who: does laundry, cooks, does dishes, vacuums, sweeps, mops, scrubs, pays bills, studies, gets my son to school, picks him up, bathes him, feeds him, kisses him good night, fixes ouchies, takes him to the Dr, shops for groceries, clothing, household items, back-to-school, goes to parent teacher conferences, takes my son for sports practices, listens to his dreams and nightmares, encourages him, disciplines him, gets the oil changed and makes sure the tires are inflated correctly, pays the rent, the utilities, the auto insurance, the phone bill, the Internet bill, buys my books for university, finds a sitter for my son so I can go to night classes, works, plays an occasional board game with my son, takes him camping and fishing, gasses up the car and buys new tires, . . . . this list could go on forever.

It's very hard to keep all those balls in the air. The unfortunate truth is that I CAN'T do all the things I have to do and not sacrifice spending time with my son. I just do the best I can--try to put out the next hottest fire. I don't have time for myself. It just doesn't exist, but that's okay. I know I'm making the best investment in the world and I know it will return a million-fold when my son is grown.

However, without my transportation, ALL of the balls will eventually drop!

So, I do know what it's like to need a car. And I do know what it's like to want to help someone else who needs a car. I hope you have enjoyed this blog so far and will leave comments about how I can go about setting up this organization. So far, my ideas look something like this:

I think I'll need the assistance of some mechanics who are willing to donate time to look over potential donation cars and maybe even some parts to help get them into reliable running order.
I'll need potential donation cars. Maybe some dealers need a tax write-off? I'll need to find some way of getting the word out about my organization. I'll need to learn how to MAKE and organization.

I also know that there are a few similar organizations out there. One, called charitycars.org seems to be known useful because they aren't taking any new applications until 2009. I'd like to get in touch with them about what they're doing and how--but I'd like my organization to be ONLY for single mothers. I'm also aware of a body shop in Michigan who gave six cars to single moms in 2006, but I don't know if they're still doing that. I might try to contact them, too.

I hope I've explained myself clearly enough. If anyone is interested in helping me out with this, leaving comments or ideas, please do. Your thoughts are more than welcome. Help me make something good happen in the lives of single moms and their kids!!