Princess Kizer and her 2-year-old son are in the driver’s seat this Christmas courtesy of Zara’s Collision Center’s Benevolence Program. Kizer was presented a completely refurbished 1999 Buick Regal this week during a luncheon ceremony at Zara’s facility.
Kizer and her son, Tavon, are former residents of Contact Ministries. She is employed by the Springfield Housing Authority and part-time at McDonald’s.
“The vehicle will help me be more self-sufficient because I can now work in areas where the bus doesn’t travel and on Sundays when there is no bus service,” said Kizer. “It will also be a great help for getting my son to and from daycare and will allow us to attend church more often.”
It is the 12th year that Zara’s has purchased at least one vehicle, restored it to pristine condition, and then donated the vehicle to an individual or organization in need. Over the course of those 12 years, Zara’s has given away 18 refurbished vehicles. A comprehensive maintenance check is done to verify the vehicle’s safety and reliability.
Typically, a lot of time is spent searching for the vehicles, ultimately purchasing them from the owners, salvage yards or insurance companies. More recently, vehicles have been donated by people in the community who have heard about Zara’s Benevolence Program.
“Providing something that makes an immediate difference in someone’s life is very gratifying,” said co-owner Julie Zara. “The support of vendors, friends, family and employees was exceptionally strong; we had over 40 donors. In addition to the vehicle refurbishing, we received more than $3,200 in gift cards and financial assistance for donations to our Benevolence Fund.”
Zara’s Collision Center is among the 26 AkzoNobel Acoat selected shops across the country giving 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 32 vehicles 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.”