In Baker’s case, her employer, Select Brands, worked with the Springfield Business Development Corporation, an arm of the Springfield Area Chamber of Commerce, to access funds to help employees who were at risk of losing work due to transportation-related barriers.
The vehicle also gave her the reliability to advance her career, where she moved from packer to machine operator.
“I wasn’t a machine operator until after I got the car,” says Baker. “I’m just so grateful that they were able to help.”
Baker is among the individuals served by LGTW, thanks to gifts by David and Stacey O’Reilly, the O’Reilly Charity Golf Classic Fund, Bass Pro Shops, the Jeannette L. Musgrave Foundation, an anonymous donor and other generous donors, along with $250,000 from the CFO’s reserves.
As of June 2022, $595,000 has been distributed through the fund.
Another person benefiting from that funding is Trish Thiesen. As manager of a gas station in Buffalo, Thiesen deals with the business of driving — but was personally challenged by the reliability of her 18-year-old vehicle with more than 300,000 miles.
“I don’t work very far from home, but me and my kid, we couldn’t go anywhere. Because it wasn’t reliable. It was breaking down all the time,” says Thiesen. “We weren’t able to go to Springfield, which is just 30 minutes away, or anywhere without me worrying that my car would break down, and I’d have my kid on the side of the road.”