BALTIMORE (WBFF) - She works hard for Baltimore, and now the city is giving back in a big way.
Today, Baltimore Ceasefire organizer Erricka Bridgeford was reduced to tears when Mayor Catherine Pugh and MileOne Autogroup CEO Steven Fader gave her the keys to a 2013 Volkswagon Tiguan.
“It means the world to me,” Bridgeford said, crying.
To understand how significant Wednesday’s gift is, you have to go back to a Jan. 14 Facebook post, where the street activist shared her struggles to get to and from the peace-keeping events she organizes around the city.
In the post, Bridgeford wrote that she’s had to buy two cars in the last three years, and that her current car is on its last leg.
Today she told FOX45: “I have been struggling for years with cars, choosing between oil changes and food for my family, because trying to maintain cars that break down all the time is very expensive. It impacts all the rest of your bills, so everything is late notices and hoping you don’t get evicted.”
Not only was the expense hitting her hard in the wallet, but she says the stress was also impacting her community work.
“The work that we do trying to, you know, address violence and murder, that’s hard work on your chest, your back. You feel it in your entire being, and so to have the very thing that you need to go do that work with that you’re worried the whole time in and then I have to get there and show up in peace and love and focus, you know, it’s a lot.”
After the January post, community members created a GoFundMe page to raise money. The page took off online, garnering media attention.
Bridgeford calls what happened next nothing short of a miracle. MileOne called up and offered her a free car.
“I read recently about the effort to raise funds for Erricka so that she can purchase a vehicle that will allow her to continue to expand the mission of Baltimore Ceasefire,” said Fader.
“I quickly realized that this was something we could provide to Erricka and that would allow all of the generous support she received from others to help fuel the programs and activities of Baltimore Ceasefire.”
Fast forward three weeks to today, and Bridgeford says having a new car that’s all free and clear is a major relief.
“Now just to be able to get in a car and not think about it, I can just go to work and do all of the things that I’m doing around the city, around the state of Maryland to only have the work to be worried about, now that’s what I’m supposed to be focused on.”
The GoFundMe page created for Bridgeford is no longer accepting donations. She wrote on Facebook that the $12,000 raised will now be used to pay for all the extra fees associated with keeping the car on road.