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The inaugural National Auto Body Council (NABC) Recycled Rides community awareness project whereby members of the NABC repaired and donated recycled vehicles to needy families throughout the United States was launched last Thanksgiving and generated a lot of enthusiasm throughout the collision industry.
Six months later, the NABC, a non-profit organization dedicated to enhancing the image of the collision industry, followed up with participants and recipients to see what kind of positive impact the donated vehicles made on the lives of the families who received them. Initial indications are that Recycled Rides is having multiple beneficial effects.
The experience of FIX Auto in Southern California is a good example. One of the guidelines of Recycled Rides is that the participating collision repair facility must locate a local charity to function as the vehicle donation mechanism. FIX Auto identified the Kinship Center an agency that helps grandparents transition to foster parenting as its charity.
Life is difficult enough for children in foster care, and can be further complicated by a lack of suitable transportation. Many families step forward to take on the responsibility of raising children who have been abused, neglected and traumatized, but often there are insufficient funds to cover the cost of a reliable car or van large enough to transport new family members.
One such Kinship Center family was lucky enough to receive a van through Recycled Rides just as the small car they had been driving was on its last legs.
"The children came to the ceremony dressed in their Sunday best and actually kissed the van’s carpet, they were so grateful," said Deborah Silverstein, vice president of the Kinship Center. "The dad said that it was the best holiday season he could remember. The Kinship Center is extraordinarily grateful to the Recycled Rides program for its generosity."
A similar story centers on Jamie T., a single mother from Tucson, Ariz. She received her vehicle from GEICO and 911 Collision Centers, working through the Angels Wings of Grace, a battered women’s shelter in the area. She has an eight-year-old daughter and a seven-year-old son who is autistic. In the past, she could only rely on the bus and her friends for transportation, a situation that was inconvenient and made her feel burdensome. Those difficult days are over thanks to her Recycled Rides van.
Now Jamie and her family have a new sense of freedom and heightened self-esteem. She can also work longer hours because she doesn’t have to wait around for public transportation, a time commitment that had been consuming up to four hours of her day. The family is even planning their first-ever vacation, a car trip to New Mexico.
"These are just two of the heartwarming stories surfacing out of the first Recycled Rides effort," says Karen Fierst of KerenOr Consultants and co-chair of Recycled Rides along with Michael Quinn of 911 Collision Centers. "It reinforces that we’re on the right path that this project can and will assist families in need and increase their standard of living. It’s very fulfilling to witness."
Repairers, insurers, car rental companies, paint suppliers, parts suppliers and material vendors all contribute in their own specific ways to Recycled Rides. This year, Recycled Rides is scheduled to make 100 simultaneous vehicle donations throughout the country during the week of Thanksgiving.