Change A Life… Donate A Car

Anyone who believes a car is a luxury for a low-income family has never had to commute daily to work from Hopkins to Gaston, a distance of approximately 23 miles. Public transportation does not connect the two points. Friends and taxis charge $20 and up—one way—for the ride. At those rates, and with an annual income of less than $20,000 for a family of three, saving to buy a decent car is usually not in the budget. Such were Rhonda Ponds’ circumstances when she applied to The Cooperative Ministry’s C.A.R. Program in July of last year. Thanks to a generous donor, Ponds is the new owner of a dependable pre-owned family sedan.

Keys to her new car are presented to Rhonda Ponds (left) by Beth Irick, Executive Director of The Cooperative Ministry.

The C.A.R. Program receives donated vehicles and refurbishes them to give away to working adults who need their own safe, reliable transportation to get to and from the job.

Ponds’ old car needed a new motor, which she could not afford. Determined to hold onto her job, Ponds borrowed relatives’ cars, paid co-workers for rides, and called taxis to get back and forth to work. It was just barely enough, but Ponds’ employer was impressed enough with her initiative to write her a letter of reference for her C.A.R. Program application. The wait for a vehicle can take 6 to 12 months, and program participants use the time to attend financial education classes provided by The Cooperative Ministry in order to develop a household budget that includes routine expenses for operating and maintaining a car.

When asked if her new car was worth the wait, Ponds replied, “You just don’t know the difference it makes, not always having to depend on someone else to take you where you need to go, and having to go everywhere on their schedule even if it makes you early or late.” Now that she has her own transportation, Ponds is happy to see the end of her commuting struggles.

The C.A.R. Program depends on vehicle donations to not only transform the lives of people who struggle to get to work but to fund all of its programs and services. Donations to The Cooperative Ministry are tax deductible. To donate your car, boat, or motorcycle—running or not—contact The Cooperative Ministry at (803) 799.3853 extension 119, or

The Cooperative Ministry, the Midlands Faith Community providing a hand up in moments of crisis and a hand out of long term poverty.


Our New Executive Director

The Cooperative Ministry is pleased to announce that Beth H. Irick has been named as its new Executive Director. Mrs. Irick, a Columbia native, is a seasoned leader in the non-profit industry with over 21 years of experience. She brings a wealth of knowledge and passion from her past experience to the organization.

“The Cooperative Ministry is very fortunate and excited about having someone of Beth’s caliber and leadership joining our team. We are confident that Beth’s experience, knowledge, and integrity are a great match for the work, staff, and friends of The Cooperative Ministry. Together we will continue to advance our mission in the Midlands” says Joseph Horne, The Cooperative Ministry Board Chairman.

Since 1982, The Cooperative Ministry has helped build stronger individuals and families in the Midlands through crisis assistance and sustainability programs.



(803) 799-3853

3821 West Beltline Boulevard

Columbia, SC 29204

Cooperative Ministry