Before he experienced it, Bradley always thought homelessness was rock bottom for addicts. As his alcoholism spiraled into joblessness and then homelessness, he realized his bottom was farther down.
For Bradley, a Marine veteran, daily life on the streets was like preparing for war. Although he never experienced combat, he utilized his military survival skills, struggling on the streets, unsure of how to end his desperate isolation.
By the time Bradley came to Portland Rescue Mission looking for food and warmth he was exhausted and ready for a changed life. Bradley decided to enter Portland Rescue Mission’s New Life Program, a long-term recovery program for men and women.
There Bradley found support and community that moved him out of the addiction that isolated him into relationships, restoration, and hope.
Drive Away Hunger, a social enterprise run by Portland Rescue Mission played an essential part in giving Bradley’s life direction into freedom.
Started 15 years ago with the vision to help people like Bradley, Drive Away Hunger offers job training so struggling people can get back on their feet with skills that provide stability. It is part of Portland Rescue Mission’s goal to meet people where they are at and walk with them at a pace they can sustain.
This unique program takes unwanted vehicles from individuals, businesses, and car dealers and puts them through a 70-point safety inspection.
The vehicle inspection and repair provides job training while the sale of the vehicles funds Portland Rescue Mission’s homeless ministry to men, women, and children that need food, shelter, and other vital services.
The average car donation helps provide more than 580 meals or 100 nights of shelter for men, women, and children at Portland Rescue Mission’s three locations: Burnside Shelter, The Harbor and Shepherd’s Door.
Drive Away Hunger’s unique program has multiple benefits for both individual donors and dealers looking to donate unsold fleet cars for a tax deduction. Rather than selling the car at auction for a low price, Drive Away Hunger potentially increases the tax deduction for the owner.
The IRS states that “the maximum amount you can deduct on your income tax return is the fair market value of your car. Fair market value is the price a willing buyer would pay and a willing seller would accept for the car.”
With the repairs done by Drive Away Hunger’s crew the vehicle’s market value is increased, giving donors the maximum tax deduction from the sale.
And the 70-point safety inspection gives car buyers the assurance that they are buying a car they can trust.
Additionally, both donors and buyers can feel good about being a part of a program that provides vocational job training for men and women in Portland Rescue Mission’s New Life program.
Bradley’s life has changed 180 degrees. He graduated from the New Life program and is now employed at Drive Away Hunger as a mechanic. Bradley got married and is a proud grandpa.
Reflecting on his time in the New Life program, Bradley remembers that when he came to train at Drive Away Hunger, “I couldn’t change oil. Now I am a mechanic. This gave me what I needed to begin the journey out of where I was.”