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A small gathering while GNG awards a donated car.
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Called to Action: Ascension Lutheran Sponsors Tanya’s Suzuki

Good News Garage would not be here today if it weren’t for thousands of generous car donors and a few key people and organizations. One such person is Bill Valliere and his church, Ascension Lutheran of South Burlington, Vermont.

Back in 1995, Bill and Ascension played a critical role in helping Good News Garage become a reality. Now over 27 years later, Bill and Ascension were called to support our mission once again, in a new and unique way.

In early 2023, Bill contacted Good News Garage on behalf of Ascension’s social action committee. He said they wanted to sponsor a vehicle by donating the funds needed to cover the cost of repairing the car. Every donated car we award to a neighbor in need receives some degree of new parts and repairs, ensuring it is safe and reliable. The cost of this important repair work can add up. That’s why we always say that making a monetary donation is just as helpful as donating a vehicle!

When we received the donation of a bright-red 2011 Suzuki SX4, we knew we had found the perfect vehicle for Ascension to sponsor. If just looking at this little car made us smile, we thought, imagine how happy it would make the family who receives it! The car was in amazing shape, inside and out, but it needed extensive repairs due to its age, far beyond the basics like new windshield wipers and tires. This vehicle was on the cusp of being too expensive for us to repair. But, with the help from Ascension, we were able to make all of the necessary repairs and put this car into the queue for a new family!

On Friday, May 19, Bill and members of Ascension’s social action committee joined us at Good News Garage to award the little red Suzuki to its new owner, Tanya Tenney of Essex. After a brief ceremony, we passed the keys to Tanya and wished her family well on the road ahead as they drove off on a beautiful spring day. Tanya plans to use the vehicle to operate her own mobile dog-grooming business. It will also take her and her children everywhere they need to go, improving their lives one ride at a time.

Two local television news reporters joined the celebration to help us share the good news about this special day. NBC5 produced the piece, “Local mom gets an early Mother’s Day surprise thanks to Burlington nonprofit” and MyChamplainValley shared the story, “Local Mother receives a very special Mother’s Day gift.”

“Giving this life-changing vehicle to Tanya’s family would not have been possible without the generosity of the vehicle donor and Ascension Lutheran Church,” said Cash Cranson, director of operations at Good News Garage. “We are all feeling the effects of inflation and high car prices, so when we’re able to come together and give someone the gift of reliable transportation it makes it extra special, and meaningful.”

Interested in learning more about the history of Good News Garage?

About Ascension Lutheran Church

Founded in February 1966 to serve the greater Burlington area, Ascension Lutheran Church draws its membership from Addison, Chittenden, Franklin, Grand Isle, and Lamoille counties in Vermont. Sometimes called the “church in the trees,” Ascension is located at 95 Allen Road in South Burlington. The congregation has always had a desire to serve its neighbors through meal packaging days, donations to charities like local food pantries and JUMP, and advocacy for programs and policies that help to eliminate hunger and poverty locally, nationally, and globally. In 1996 and for several years before, Ascension with several other local Lutheran churches, was instrumental in starting Good News Garage in Burlington; a mission they continue to support. The congregation is also a strong advocate for environmental justice and creation care. As part of that commitment, Ascension maintains walking trails and a meditation labyrinth on its property, and has done a major stream restoration in the area. For more information, visit Ascension’s Facebook page.