MARLBOROUGH – Marlborough resident Andrea McNeil received a 2007 Honda CR-V as a donation through the nonprofit Good News Garage.
McNeil, who had never had a car before, said that having a car will help her go back to school at night to study human services while she works during the day.
“I now have more hope for the future. I now have a path and a way to get to that path,” McNeil said.
Meet Andrea McNeil
McNeil lost her mother when she was 23-years-old before her mother had a chance to meet her son.
Problems such as feeling like she didn’t fit in and not loving herself were factors that led her to lose control over her life.
“I had five years clean and sober at one time, and I lost it,” McNeil said. “I went on a downward spiral and was then stuck out there in the world for 10 years with major depression and addiction.”
She lost her dignity, morals and her son, she said.
McNeil credited community resources with helping her to climb out from depression and find purpose in her life. She also went through different treatment programs like Serenity House, where she just recently graduated.
She decided to study human services because of her experience with mental illness and addiction, which she said allows her to approach these topics in a personal way.
McNeil learned about Good News Garage through the Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission, which was founded in Vermont in 1996 and has given out more than 5,500 vehicles since then, according to a press release from the nonprofit.
She was able to get a driver’s license through MRC. She started working at Saver’s in Marlborough, which she said is a job she really enjoys and had to maintain for a year to get on the Good News Garage list.
“That was just motivation for me to want to better my life,” she said.
After being put on the Good News Garage list, someone from the nonprofit called McNeil when she was nearing the top of the list. A few months before she was able to get it, Good News Garage asked for her vehicle preferences.
When she learned she would be getting a car, McNeil said she felt extremely blessed.
“All my fruits are being beared,” McNeil said. “All of the hard work that I put into doing the right thing, keeping myself sober, working on myself is now paying off.”
Now that she has a car, McNeil said she has many more options for work, as her job is no longer limited to somewhere within walking distance.
She has felt great gratitude for the vehicle, and it has already made an impact. With the car, she has been able to be there for family and friends in a way she had not previously.
“Good News Garage is definitely a great program to donate to because you never know how that will impact that person’s life, like it’s impacting mine now,” McNeil said.