The Gene and Marlene Epstein Humanitarian Fund recently announced a challenge grant to be awarded to those who donate a used car to the Bucks County Opportunity Council’s (BCOC) Wheelz2Work Program. The cars are turned over to low-income families in need of safe, reliable transportation to work or school while they are working toward self-sufficiency.
BCOC’s Economic Self-sufficiency Program is a highly successful program that moves people from poverty to self-sufficiency by helping them, with the one-on-one support of coaches, to create a strategic plan to leave poverty and all government assistance and be able to support their families. To date, 44 used cars have been donated to self-sufficiency clients, and the Epstein family is hoping to be able to help others currently on the waiting list. The program has been a lifeline for clients who have been derailed from pursuing additional training, job interviews, or applying for jobs at a greater distance from home because of unsafe or unreliable transportation.
Wheelz2Work is a partnership between BCOC, Bucks County Community College, and the Epstein Humanitarian Fund. Recipients of each vehicle have been screened first by coaches who are working with clients on a regular schedule and who can attest to their commitment and progress.
As an extra incentive to donate a car, the Epstein Fund will issue a check for between $400 and $700 to the first 10 people who donate a car before November 10, 2018. Donors can also receive a tax deduction at book value since the car is not being sold.
For over 50 years, the Opportunity Council has served low income families in Bucks County by helping them to stabilize when in crisis, garner resources to achieve a livable wage, gain additional education and training, and work towards economic self-sufficiency.
BCOC is also the lead food agency in the County, distributing public and private donations to over 60 pantries, senior centers and other sites. Other programs include weatherization to reduce the energy burden for low-income families and the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program, which provides free tax preparation services, eliminating fees and maximizing credits and returns.