CHICAGO (CBS) – A Chicago woman received a car thanks to a local non-profit, as a part of a Service King’s car giveaway.
30-year-old Carlisa Thomas had never owned a car. As a single mom of two and owner of a catering company, getting around has been challenging for her, WBBM’s Lisa Fielding reports.
Thomas has been using public transportation and Uber, but said it gets very pricy.
“Trying to take care of the household, newly single mother, running my own business, I was trying to figure out how to get my own car,” Thomas said.
Thanks to the ‘Women With Drive’ program and Service King, her problem was relieved.
As part of Service King’s The Great American Recycled Rides Giveaway, Thomas was presented with a 2010 Toyota Corolla.
“I’m proud to present you with your very own car,” said Randy Jenkins, Market VP for Chicagoland Operations, Service King.
“This is a blessing to me and my family,” Thomas cried. “You are doing this for us me and my children is amazing and I want to thank you all from the bottom of my heart, really, thank you so much.”
For its 40th anniversary, Service King hosted its largest vehicle donation set for Sept. 16-18. Service King, with the assistance of several leading auto insurance companies, aimed to repair and donate 40 vehicles to deserving recipients, selected by local non-profit organizations.
The Women With Drive program also partners with organizations who identify and vet individuals. They then provide women with transportation in order to keep individuals moving, said Molly Cantrell-Kraig, founder, Women With Drive Foundation.
“Transportation is key for success, especially for women,” Cantrell-Kraig said. “As I started to research the problem, the more I realized that the number one reason welfare to work programs fail, is the lack of reliable transportation.”
The cars come from dealerships, churches and private donations.
Thomas was chosen based on need through the YWCA. She was referred, then applied and wrote an essay to be considered.
“It’s a huge weight lifted from my shoulders,” Thomas said. “This is amazing for someone to say, keep doing what you’re doing, we’re going to handle the car for you. Absolutely amazing.”
Service King’s auto body technicians from across the U.S. voluntarily repaired each vehicle for the event. Service King hosted giveaways in Dallas, San Antonio, Atlanta, Chicago, Houston, Tampa and more.
“The Great American Recycled Rides Giveaway is a really special event for us, it’s historical,” Jenkins said. “It’s actually the largest single giveaway done by any collision repair ever. It takes a lot to make something like this happen.”
With help from local non-profit organizations across the country, vehicles will go towards assisting single mothers, domestic violence victims, transitioning homeless families, military veterans and more.
A grand finale to the weekend event will take place Sunday in front of a national audience at Chicagoland Speedway.