Driven to Give
John Losch started up CARS4theCounty.org to give reliable transportation to those in need.
Owning a car, for many who are just getting by, is an answer to prayers.
And giving a car to those in need was an answer to John Losch’s prayers, which is why he founded CARS4theCounty.org last April.
CARS, or Christian Automotive Repairs & Sales, helps those in need in Brunswick County to get behind the wheel of a vehicle at a vastly affordable price – sometimes 50 percent below fair market value – whether they are working at a low income, out seeking employment or still recovering from a natural disaster, like Hurricane Florence.
“A vehicle in this rural community, as large as it is, is a necessity,” Losch says. “The average commute right now for anyone to get a job in Brunswick County is 25 minutes, and that’s a long time. And if you don’t have a vehicle and you’re relying on a friend or someone else to get you to your job every day, that will stretch the friendship if it goes on too long. Recognizing that this type of help is needed so that they can look for a job or get to a job in a timely manner was the real focus of this.”
The calling came to Losch, a member of Trinity United Methodist in Southport, during his three-day Walk to Emmaus revival.
“I made a pledge that I was going to do something that would help individuals in Brunswick County,” he says.
So far, they’ve awarded five reliable vehicles in 2019, with a focus on single moms with kids living near or below the poverty line.
“And when I hear back from the recipients of the vehicles, it’s really heartwarming to hear what they’ve been able to accomplish since they got the vehicles from us,” Losch says. “A couple of the recipients were able to go back to school part-time at Brunswick County Community College and are doing very well, and one of those two also added some extra work hours to help pay for school.”
Losch, who has a background working in sales in the Chicago market, modeled the CARS process after a similar nonprofit in the Chicago area. To initially qualify online, applicants must have proof of residence, have no drug offenses in the last two years, have no vehicle currently registered in his or her name, be employed for the last six months or longer, have proof of income (W-2 or two recent payroll stubs), pass a criminal background check and DMV, and show their most recent IRS tax forms. AAA Carolina Motor Club memberships are included with each vehicle.
From this step in the process, Losch says that CARS is currently experimenting with a few options to fund each vehicle for each qualified applicant, including the potential recipient covering the expense of tags and registration, an affordable lease option for 12 months and foundation grants to cover the costs. Up until now, the organization has had to support themselves by paying for repairs, tags, safety fees and safety checks, but Losch is praying for more generous donations from area foundations.
“In the past, we’ve had two vehicles donated through the St. James community, the town of Southport, Sunset Beach, Holden Beach and more,” Losch says. “We’ve had a total of eight vehicles donated since we started up.”
Losch shares that CARS currently has several candidates who qualify for vehicles, but, unfortunately, the vehicles in CARS’ possession right now require repairs that are too expensive.
“We’re really looking forward to hopefully receiving a grant from a foundation or two,” he says. “It’s really important, because that’s the only source of income other than some type of promotion. … We pray for any type of donation we could possibly get and vehicle donations so that we can continue to provide these candidates and single parents with reliable transportation.”
For more information or to make a donation, visit cars4thecounty.org.
My background includes time spent in the U.S. Air Force working on B-1 Bombers, followed with 10 years in the design and sign industries. I have won multiple American Advertising Federation Addy Awards in design, and my design experience includes logos, brochures, business cards, T-shirts, wedding invitations, event collateral, magazine layouts, posters, vehicle wraps and signage. Custom illustration is a favorite of mine in creating a unique client brand. As an avid photographer, I feel I can capture so many defining moments that get lost in our everyday hustle. Photography is definitely one of my most favorite aspects of art. Stopping time for a moment with a “click” is truly exciting and it allows for the magic of our world to be captured forever.