Cynthia Osborne has cerebral palsy, and for the past couple of years her church has been trying to raise money for a van that she needs to get around.

The Ford Econoline van is fitted with a lift so Cynthia can get in and out of it. She finds someone to drive the van to church or to friends' houses in the evening.

“I could pay for it before the economy got so bad,” Cynthia said, explaining that she lives on Social Security.

Brother Larry Lussier of St. Gabriel’s Church said the church raised about $11,000 to date, but there’s still another $8,000 to go to pay off the van.

Cynthia started cutting lots of things out of her budget when money got tight, but the van isn’t something she thought she could do without.

The monthly costs for the van are $308.

Brother Larry said, “Since a few years ago when social service dollars were trimmed from assisting people with special needs, she has not been able to meet the monthly $308.51 payment.”

In November 2010, Parish Social Ministry headed up a “Keep the Van Moving campaign” to assist her. The ministry collected enough to make payments for a year and a half, Brother Larry said.

Today, there’s only enough to make about one more payment, Brother Larry said.

He said he really wants to help because Cynthia is one of those people who is always happy and positive, despite obstacles.

Anyone who would like to make a donation may send a check to St. Gabriel Church, 26 Broadway, Milford CT 06460, and write “Pay off van fund” in the memo line.