BodyShop Business
Illinois Shop Gives Gift of Refurbished Van to Needy Family

A family of five struggling to balance family obligations, school and work – all without the convenience of a vehicle – literally has been given the keys to greater opportunity thanks to Zara’s Collision Center of Springfield, Ill.

Zara's presented the local family with an early Christmas present – a completely refurbished 2000 Oldsmobile Silhouette van.

The van was presented to the family on Dec. 10 during a lunch reception at Zara’s facility. It’s the 10th year that Zara’s has purchased, restored and then donated at least one vehicle to an individual or organization in need. Zara’s has given away a total of 15 refurbished vehicles to deserving individuals or organizations in the Springfield area. A comprehensive maintenance check is also done to verify the vehicle’s safety and reliability.

The family consists of mom and dad along with three children ages 7, 3 and 2. They moved to Springfield in June from Chicago for a safer, smaller environment for the children. Mom secured a part-time job soon after arriving, but Dad has been hampered in his job search by the lack of a vehicle. The job offers he has received have been in areas not serviced by bus routes. The van will provide new employment possibilities as well as allow more participation in school functions, trips to the grocery store and medical treatments for their son’s asthma attacks.

“You can tell from the participation today of our entire staff that everybody at our place really looks forward to the vehicle giveaway each year,” said co-owner Julie Zara. “Doing something like this allows you to step back and remember what Christmas is all about.”

Support from the business community and individuals was strong this year, said Zara.

“Approximately 40 businesses, friends and family members made donations – everything from toys to even gift cards for applicants not selected to receive the vehicle,” she said.

Zara’s Collision Center is among the 54 Akzo Nobel Acoat selected shops across the country that give away a vehicle in December as part of a national effort to present refurbished cars to deserving individuals during the holiday season. Acoat shops will give away 60 cars this year.

“The program highlights individuals who are working to help themselves,” said Zara. “A valid driver’s license and a good driving record are among the eligibility requirements.”

Zara’s Collision Center, now in its 22nd year of business, is a full-service collision repair center. So far in 2008, the shop’s customer satisfaction rating is 99.2 percent, as reported by CSI Complete.

latoya jackson and her husband jonathan phillips with their children jonathan jr., la’keasia, and kevin.
LaToya Jackson and her husband Jonathan Phillips with their children Jonathan Jr., La’Keasia, and Kevin.
Julie and Brad Zara, owners of Zara's Collision Center
Julie and Brad Zara, owners of Zara's Collision Center

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