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Do you want to see the good your car charity donations do? Look into the eyes of the thousands of men, women and children blessed by our homeless programs.

Nothing is more soul crushing than being homeless. Every year your car charity donations help Volunteers of America Chesapeake offer the homeless of Maryland, the District of Columbia and Virginia a second chance at life. When you donate a car it means that instead of being hungry and ignored, thousands of homeless men, women and children are provided with food, shelter, job training, job placement…and most important, hope. Hope is made possible when you donate your car or truck. That hope changed J.D.'s life, and it took less than a year to do it. This is his story:

In June of 2010 J.D. was living in the woods – at a campsite where he had lived for more than 20 years. Fearing he was dying he reached out to Gayle Sanders, Program Director at Volunteers of America Chesapeake's Hilda M. Barg Homeless Prevention Center in Woodbridge, VA – one of the Volunteers of America homeless shelters in our community funded by car charity donations. "I didn't want to die alone," he said. "I've known Gayle for a long time and she had been aware of my situation out in the streets for a long time and extended an olive branch to me many a time. But between my stubborn streak from the alcoholism and the dog I had with me that I loved, I didn't want to leave. Finally when I had the feeling my time was just about done, I prepared myself to die in the woods. But I didn't want to die alone. So I fished out Gayle's number, and they came and got me. Hospice gave me 36 hours to live."

Sanders connected him with medical services, and instead of dying, J.D.'s health improved. A few months later he came back to Volunteers of America Chesapeake's Hilda M. Barg Homeless Prevention Center as a where he received services underwritten by car charity donations. These services led him to find a place to live where he began renting a room outside of the center, where he now volunteers and helps other people who are homeless.

"I'm here, volunteering and helping those who are homeless because I want to make it as comfortable to those who have, like me, had to eat out of dumpsters, gone to jail because of circumstances out of their control, have been spit on, called a bum and a drunk – what if the roles were reversed?"

J.D. asks, "Would you want someone to treat you that way? I volunteer at the center almost every day. I answer the phones, help around the center, work with the other residents and provide comedic relief… because everyone needs to laugh once in a while! It is just something I enjoy doing," J.D. said. "When I walk in the door, it's like coming home – and I've never had a real home."

J.D. has personally experienced the blessing of your car charity donations, and wants to help the Volunteers of America Chesapeake homeless services staff that once helped him.

"I could not have done that [recovered] without the prayers and support of the fine folks right here at Hilda Barg. I'm totally amazed every day at the staff. Some people take for granted what these people do every day to make a difference in people's lives. They are my 'angels.'"

A changed man, J.D. said he feels lucky to have a second chance and is eager to live the rest of his life helping others.

"I'm thankful God gave me a second chance. I do not know why – I'm the very first to admit what happened to me was extremely 100 percent self-inflicted. No one made me drink, so I cannot blame anyone for that but myself. I am thankful I'm here and I firmly believe that we all serve a purpose. I'm thankful for the smile on a pretty girl's face, a kitten playing with a ball of yarn, a puppy chasing his tail – I'm thankful for the simple things that a lot of people take for granted…. And even though I've been through what I've been through in this lifetime, I can honestly tell you I would not trade places with anyone. I am happy, finally, with who I am – I am at peace with my heart, my soul and my mind and there is not anyone in the world who can take that away from me….I firmly believe history is made by each breath and that a legacy is what you do with that breath. Now I can't think of a more fitting or lasting legacy than to help your fellow man."

The Homeless Services that blessed J.D. and continues to bless thousands of other homeless people in the Baltimore, Virginia and Greater D.C. area would not be possible without the car charity donations of people like you. So from J.D. and thousands of hungry men, women and children we say…thanks.

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Homeless Services, underwritten by your car charity donations to Volunteers of America Chesapeake, provides food, shelter, counseling, job training and job placement to more than 4000 homeless men, women and children in the District of Columbia, Virginia and Maryland. Last year car donation to charitiesopened the door to a new life for people in our community hit hardest by the tough economy. All thanks to generous car charity donations like yours from Baltimore to Virginia Beach, Washington D.C., Arlington, Lanham, Woodbridge, Leesburg, Falls Church or Seat Pleasant. To learn about your tax deduction click on Taxes: Donate Car.
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