Donated Car Means No More 4 Hour Commutes

Aug 8, 2013

Jonnie Ogletree received a 1998 Chevrolet Cavalier as part of Goodwill Industries "Wheels-to-Work" program in August, 2013.
Credit Goodwill

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (WMOT)  --  Three mid-state residents received donated vehicles from Goodwill this past week.

It’s part of a new offering from Goodwill called "Wheels-to-Work." Middle Tennessee Goodwill Industries president Matthew Bourlakas says that one of the keys to gainful employment is simply being able to get to your place of employment on time.

“The guiding philosophy of Goodwill, has been grounded in the belief that productive, paid work is integral to the positive self-esteem of individuals, and to the success of the communities in which they live.”

Jonnie Ogletree is Goodwill employee. She was one of three people to receive a car in the program’s first round of donations.

Ogletree sorts donated clothing in the charity’s Nashville warehouse. It’s been taking her four hours by bus to get to and from work each day. A recent knee replacement surgery made things even more difficult.

“I get up about four, catch the bus at five, and I would get home at four-thirty. And if I worked on Saturdays, I had to walk maybe another mile and a half to catch another bus just in order to get to work on time.”

Ogleetree says getting a donated car has made all the difference.

“I can do everything more quickly now. I don’t’ have to catch the bus. My feet don’t hurt as much as they used to. I’m very independent now. I can go where I want to go and I’m really enjoying it.”

Individuals receiving a Wheels-to-Work vehicle must be employed, obtain a driver’s license, and take classes on budgeting, vehicle maintenance and defensive driving.

Goodwill says it has several employees and clients on a waiting list, hoping to receive a donated vehicle in the near future.