A single mom of four young children received the much-needed gift of mobility this holiday season thanks to James Wood AutoPark and United Way of Denton County.
Farmers Insurance donated a 2016 Chevrolet Malibu through their "Rides for Hope" program.
"Farmers Insurance Exchange is committed to helping the communities we serve, and Farmers Rides for Hope is one way of accomplishing this goal," Randy Bastian, a local Farmers Insurance representative, said. "We partner with industry resources such as James Wood AutoPark and work together to donate vehicles to people in need via a nonprofit organization that Farmers supports."
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Nine James Wood AutoPark technicians and painters spent 120 hours refurbishing the car, using donated materials from vendors to make the car feel new again.
"The technicians and painters were ready to jump on it right away," John Seidel, Body Shop Manager at James Wood AutoPark, said. "And our employees got involved by donating clothing, toys, and gift cards for the family. We're so happy we can help out and make a difference in at least one family's life."
The car's recipient, Jada Saulny, is mom to sons Garvin, 12, and Malakai, 2, and daughters Saniya, 9, and Mia, 4. Saulny currently works part-time at Home Depot while studying to obtain her GED.
However, lack of transportation made life difficult for this young mom.
"Not having a car is hard," Saulny said. "Garvin wants to play sports and Saniya loves gymnastics. But I can't get them there."
Uber was the primary form of transportation for Saulny and her children because public transportation takes over 90 minutes. But the cost of Uber rides to work, school, doctor's appointments, and more adds up.
"A lot of my income goes to that," Saulny said. "Having a car will help a lot. Help me save money too."
The collaborative effort to help Saulny and her family involved United Way of Denton County, Cumberland Presbyterian Children's Home, James Wood AutoPark, and Farmers Insurance.
"When we got the call from Denny Aldridge at James Wood, we immediately thought of our collaboration with Cumberland to identify a hard-working recipient for this car," Gary Henderson, President and CEO of United Way of Denton County, said. "Jada represents so many struggling families across Denton County who we call ALICE (Asset Limited Income Constrained, Employed), and we know transportation continues to be a huge need in our community."
Saulny is enrolled in the Family Residential Program at Cumberland Presbyterian Children's Home, and she participates in United Way of Denton County's Financial Coaching program. She works with her financial coach on budgeting, improving her credit scores, and searching for a fulltime job.
"I can expand my search for a job beyond the immediate area," Jada noted. "I'm excited to do more stuff with my kids. Right now, it's hard because it's so hard getting around. It'll be more fun being able to get out as a family."