ISO Travelers and Immigrants Aid, 2013
July 8, 2013 10:28 AM   Subscribe

Asking on behalf of a neighbor whose daughter (early 20s) is stranded in Ohio with car problems, i.e., she needs an alternator.

Sending money isn't an option—they do not have it, no credit cards, either. (Unfortunately, I can't help financially.) Adding to the stress and frustration, the daughter is expected at a new job (waiting tables, upscale restaurant) in Chicago on Wednesday.

When I worked in social services (30 years ago, downstate IL), there were a handful of agencies with emergency funds—some specifically for travelers, e.g., migrant workers. Do such services still exist and/or any other ideas for getting the girl back home?
posted by she's not there to Work & Money (7 answers total)
Without knowing any other background, the first thing I'd do is this:

- leave the car somewhere safe and use any money she or anyone else has to get a bus to Chicago by Wednesday.

- crowd source for donations/a small loan via social networking. This can be as simple as "STRANDED IN CLEVELAND IN NEED OF AN ALTERNATOR! Can anyone help a girl out?" posted as a status update on Facebook. Maybe with details of exactly what she needs and when she can pay back/what the arrangements would be.

When I had some car problems a few months ago, friends started an indiegogo campaign and raised kind of an obscene amount of money over just a few days. I'm still flattered/freaked out/verklempt about it even now. I don't know that this is necessarily realistic for your neighbors' daughter, but she might know someone who can loan her the money, or at least get her bus fare.

Can she sell the car for scrap and get by without a car in Chicago, as a worst case scenario? How much of this is her needing a vehicle, and how much is it about being stranded?
posted by Sara C. at 10:36 AM on July 8, 2013

I'm not saying this is the best way to go about things, but a female in her early 20s stranded due to transportation issues and flat broke with a job waiting in another location is the prime demographic to make beaucoup bucks panhandling.

Make a sign, sit on a busy streetcorner with both foot and car traffic, look downtrodden (which shouldn't be too difficult), and it'll probably only take a few hours to raise the necessary cash for a bus out (or a new alternator).
posted by phunniemee at 10:57 AM on July 8, 2013

Is she has a reddit account she can post on this subreddit.
posted by Snazzy67 at 11:11 AM on July 8, 2013

I guess my first though we be to sell the car. If she's working in Chicago proper, a car will probably be more hassle than it's worth anyway, and will be an expensive thing to have on a server's budget.

But that might seem extreme. So...if it really is the alternator, it probably won't cost her more than $500 or so, and could be as low as $200. It's real money but not such an extreme amount that she couldn't find someone to borrow it from? A friend? A relative?

Finding some kind of Non-profit to get her out of the bind is probably extremely unlikely, especially with this short timeline.

The other option to me would be, if the car is in an okay place to hang out, get on craigslist and find a rideshare to Chicago. Start the job, do without the car until she can afford to get it fixed and retrieve it.
posted by Lutoslawski at 11:35 AM on July 8, 2013 [1 favorite]

Where in Ohio?
posted by 2X2LcallingCQ at 11:55 AM on July 8, 2013 [1 favorite]

Sell the car, bus to Chicago in time for the new job.
posted by small_ruminant at 5:29 PM on July 8, 2013

Response by poster: Thank you all for the advice. Fortunately, the shop dropped the price to something she could afford.
posted by she's not there at 9:28 PM on July 30, 2013 [1 favorite]

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