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Marlborough woman receives car through Good News Garage

Marlborough woman receives car through Good News Garage
Andrea McNeil stands with her new car. (Photo/Stuart Foster)

MARLBOROUGH – Marlborough resident Andrea McNeil received a 2007 Honda CR-V as a donation through the nonprofit Good news garage.

McNeil, who had never owned a car, said having a car will help her go back to school at night to study human services while working during the day.

“I now have more hope for the future. I now have a path and a way to get on that path,” McNeil said.

Meet Andrea McNeil

McNeil lost her mother when she was 23 years old before her mother had the chance to meet her son.

Problems such as feeling like she didn’t belong and not loving herself were factors that caused her to lose control of her life.

“I had five years clean and sober at the same time, and I lost it,” McNeil said. “I went into a downward spiral and then sat in the world for 10 years with severe depression and addiction.”

She lost her dignity, morals and her son, she said.

McNeil has credited community resources with helping her come out of depression and find purpose in her life. She has also gone through several treatment programs such as Serenity House, where she recently graduated.

She decided to study Human Services because of her experience with mental illness and addiction, which she says 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 1996 in Vermont and has since released more than 5,500 vehicles, according to a press release from the nonprofit.

Through MRC she was able to get a driver’s license. She started working at Saver’s in Marlborough, which she said is a job she really likes and had to hold out for a year to get on the Good News Garage list.

“That was just a motivation for me to want to improve my life,” she said.

After she was placed on the Good News Garage list, someone from the nonprofit organization called McNeil as she neared the top of the list. A few months before she could get it, Good News Garage asked about her vehicle preferences.

When she heard she was getting a car, McNeil said she felt extremely blessed.

“All my fruits are borne,” McNeil said. “All the hard work I’ve put into doing the right thing, keeping myself sober and working on myself, is now paying off.”

Now that she has a car, McNeil says she has many more opportunities to work because 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 impression. With the car she has been able to be there for family and friends in a way that she did not have before.

“Good News Garage is definitely a great program to donate to because you never know how that’s going to affect that person’s life, the way it’s affecting mine right now,” McNeil said.

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