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A & E Autos 4 The Needy Vehicle Recipients

Samantha Jones

Autos 4 the Needy met their next Auto Partner through C.A.R.E. in Punta Gorda. C.A.R.E. is the Center for Abuse and Rape Emergencies and, therefore, our mutual client will remain anonymous and we will refer to her as “Samantha Jones”. Maggie Furstein is the Economic Justice Advocate at C.A.R.E. and will be standing in place of Samantha at her Auto Dedication Ceremony on December 19, 2017. Maggie’s role with C.A.R.E. is to empower domestic violence survivors by providing essential tools to aid in growth and independence. Some of these resources include budgeting, establishing bank accounts, job searches and securing housing. Proliteracy cooking class of healthy and low budget meals helps the survivors maintain their budget.

Samantha was one of seven who grew up in a home single family home, raised by her father who suffered from untreated schizophrenia. Samantha’s mom was not in the picture due to her addiction to drugs. At the age of 14, Samantha met her abuser who was a 20-year-old man claiming to love her. Like a lot of girls in Samantha’s situation, she thought she was bettering herself by moving in with her new boyfriend. Samantha’s mother, without question, unenrolled Samantha from school and allowed her to move in with her boyfriend. It wasn’t long before the abuse started.


Like many domestic violence victims Samantha felt trapped, scared and alone, not only was she physically abused, she was financially abused. Not being allowed to work or have her own money, everything has been a new learning process for her.  It is amazing that during this time she was able to get her GED. By the time Samantha was 17, she was pregnant with her first child. From the time Samantha had her first child until about a year ago, Samantha and her children were placed in over 10 shelters where she was seeking safety from her abuser.

It has been a long road, but thanks to the help of C.A.R.E. and other local agencies Samantha has found gainful employment, is in the process of securing housing and now has a vehicle through the Autos 4 the Needy program.

Bobbi-Sue Burton

Bobbi-Sue Burton is the Executive Director of Project Phoenix in Englewood, FL. Bobbi is driven, passionate and committed to bettering the lives of individuals in Charlotte County. Project Phoenix is a 100% donor supported and volunteer ran organization, therefore Bobbi doesn’t get paid for her work Monday through Friday.

Bobbi was diagnosed with stage 3 cancer in September of 2015. It has been a long road, but Bobbi is on her way to recovery. Bobbi, who resides in Englewood, FL has to travel to Sarasota, Lakewood Ranch, Venice and other areas to continue to receive treatment and attend doctor’s appointments. Bobbi also gives back to the community by speaking at cancer patient support groups.

Without reliable transportation, Bobbi struggles to get back and forth to doctors appointments, community service, work and time with her family. Autos 4 the Needy will be donating a beautiful 2002 Chevy Impala that will be instrumental in Bobbi’s ability to thrive and continue to serve the greater Englewood area.

Maureen Moran

At the suggestion of a friend and researching the area, Maureen moved to Punta Gorda from Long Beach, NY in 2015 after losing her home in Hurricane Sandy. After settling in, she reignited her love for acting and became involved in the local theater community, starring in “On Golden Pond” with the Lemon Bay Players of Englewood.

In 2016, Maureen was selected as one of 14 actors from around the world who were invited to travel to New York City and participate in an acting intensive workshop. She ended that program one step closer to combining her two passions: acting and ending the stigma associated with mental illness. Her goal is to be an advocate for mental illness through Public Speaking, Creative Writing, and Acting. She is currently training to be a Peer Specialist, in pursuit of that goal.

On the 5th day of her drive back home, full of hopes and plans; her world was shattered as she was involved in a near-fatal car accident. Everything changed that day, and instead of helping others, she was in need of help. Left without transportation and with physical injuries, Maureen has risen above her challenges and today she is back in the theatre;  determined, ready to shine, and stand up against the shame of mental illness.

Already paying it forward, Maureen is partnering with Clubhouse International to bring their clubhouse program to Charlotte County. The clubhouse will be a resource for those who suffer from mental illness and provide the encouragement and assistance they need to lead successful lives. With the blessing of a vehicle, she’s able to accomplish her goals and give back to her community that much quicker!

Gary Ginkel

Gary Ginkel relocated to Punta Gorda’s Three Oaks apartment complex in May 2016 from Biloxi, Mississippi where he was homeless for over 3 years. This would prove to be a life-changing move for the US Navy Veteran. “Substance abuse and adjustment disorder with anxiety” is how Gary Ginkel described his struggle for a recent article in the Florida Weekly.  

Since he arrived in Charlotte County, Gary has utilized the many resources that are provided in the area. Three Oaks apartments in Punta Gorda is a safe haven for 26 of our nation’s veterans. There he is provided housing at an affordable rate for up to two years, a drug-free environment with on-site AA meetings, and a lot of support. He has completed many social programs available in the community, including Bridges Out of Poverty with The Homeless Coalition and is currently attending a Microenterprise class in Port Charlotte. Gary specializes in home appliance repairs and has been learning about starting his own small business.

In order to continue to become a productive member of society, Gary needs a reliable form of transportation. A 1995 Ford Windstar Van was donated to A & E Autos 4 The Needy by a family in the community who wanted to help make a difference. Like many vehicles over 10 years old, this van needed work and because of the support of the community, Gary is now driving it down his road to continued sobriety and self-sufficiency.

David Dawson

gofundme-daviddawsonDavid Dawson moved to Punta Gorda, Florida from Charlottesville, Virginia in late 2012 to take care of his mother who was disabled and needed a primary caregiver. David stepped up to the plate and when he moved he had to start completely over. He worked for a dry cleaners in Port Charlotte where he rode a bike 8.3 miles one way every day to work, until the unimaginable happened. In September of 2015 David himself was diagnosed with Squamous Cell Carcinoma that started in the mouth. One month later doctors in Port Charlotte performed surgery and deemed it a success. But Tragically the cancer returned three months later. In January of 2016 he was referred to Moffitt Cancer Hospital where he has spent the last 6 months in treatment. His doctors, Harrison and Chung have stated that David has made a significant amount of progress and they believe he will have a clean bill of health in the near future.

During the middle of his treatment David was dealt another blow when he lost his mother to heart failure on June 5th 2016. He had to postpone some of his cancer treatment to handle the duties of being a loving son. He started to lose hope, but managed to keep his head up and is fighting to become healthy himself once again.

With a vehicle David would be able to continue to make the 2 hour drive from Punta Gorda to Tampa and continue his cancer treatment. Reliable transportations would allow him to be able to attend follow up appointments and ensure he stays in the best of health. David will also be able to obtain a job. In order to work for a local contractor, installing fences, David will need a reliable form of transportation to work in the service areas from Naples to Bradenton.

A & E Autos 4 The Needy was donated a 2002 Chevy Impala that needs some minor repairs in order to be in road worthy condition. Once we raise the money for the parts, A & E Auto Repair will donate the labor that it will entail to repair this vehicle. A reliable form of transportation plays a crucial role in David’s road to recovery and obtaining a job. If you or anyone you know has struggled with cancer and losing everything, you understand this man’s journey will not be easy but he is a strong willed individual who is ready to keep fighting.

Janine Giovino

Without reliable transportation, Janine Giovino, a single mother of two boys came to A & E Autos 4 The Needy seeking help. As the sole provider for her family, Janine was dealt a significant blow when she went through a difficult divorce and lost her job. With only the limited public transportation available in Charlotte County to rely on, it was difficult for her to gain new employment. Janine was forced to spend a significant portion of her monthly budget on cab fare, just to satisfy the basic needs of her family, like groceries and laundry. Each trip required advance planning, careful coordination of schedules and extra money to get back and forth. If one of her children were sick at school, Janine was unable to pick them up, take them to the doctor or even make a quick trip to the pharmacy for medicine. As Janine said, “I found myself feeling alone”.

On March 19, 2016, after completing the program application and meeting the requirements, Janine became the first recipient of a vehicle donated by A & E Autos 4 The Needy. She received a 2000 Mercury Villager, perfect for her young family. The car had been donated by a concerned community member, local businesses donated the parts needed, and  A & E Auto Repair donated the labor required to get the car in safe, working condition.

Since that day, Janine’s life has changed immensely. She obtained her HHA license and is currently employed by two home health agencies. Adding to her self-sufficiency, Janine is now able to supplement her income by traveling to local vendor fairs to sell her homemade jewelry and home decor.

Janine is a proud example of the impact that A & E Autos 4 The Needy can have on not just one person, but also the greater community. As a mother, Janine is able to better provide and care for her children. Her opportunities for employment greatly increased. She and her children are able to spend more free time together and less of their money trying to fulfill basic needs. Through the kindness of our community, A & E Autos 4 The Needy was able to have a positive impact on the future of this family.

In August of 2017, Janine was the first to complete the Autos 4 the Needy program. In 17 months, Janine learned how to properly maintain her vehicle and the importance of budgeting for repairs and maintenance. Janine was given the hand up she needed to be able to relocate back to NY to be closer to her friends and family. Janine has told us “Without a vehicle, none of this would have been possible. I will be forever grateful to Autos 4 the Needy for providing reliable transportation, which was the vehicle I needed to come this far”