Some deserving people receive donated cars to make their lives a little easier, while others use them to get better jobs and improve their situations.
For Eboni Strader, a disabled U.S. Army veteran and single mother of two children, her new vehicle has allowed her to continue receiving critical medical treatment, take her children to school, continue her education and work with the California Department of Veterans Affairs (CalVet), which serves veterans throughout the entire state.
"I work in the executive suite with the Women’s Division. This car has given me the ability to achieve all of this in just two short months after receiving the car. Life was exceedingly difficult for me and my children before we received the gift of this vehicle,” she said.
In October 2018, Caliber Collision, in conjunction with Allstate Insurance as part of the National Auto Body Council’s Recycled Rides program, presented a completely refurbished 2014 Toyota Corolla to Strader at the sixth annual Military Women's Appreciation Day at American River College in Sacramento, CA.
More than 200 female veterans and active service members attended the event, which was hosted by VA NorCal and produced in cooperation with Operation: Care and Comfort, The Soldiers Project and the American River College Veterans Resource Center.
"The car changed my life because it removed a lot of stress," Strader said. "This entire experience changed my life because it made me a better mother, student and employee and has allowed me to gain the freedom and independence I desperately needed. Now I can obtain the medical treatment and care that I desperately need, and it allows me to keep my children enrolled in the current charter school they attend because I can get them to and from school every day."
In 2015, Strader relocated to California to escape a domestic violence situation and start anew.
"I got on an airplane with my two children, and we had to leave a lot of our possessions behind," she said. "We came to seek shelter with a family member in another city but were unable to stay there, and eventually we had to move. We then came to Sacramento, and I sought help from the VA here. I was placed in VA housing for women with SVRC (Sacramento Veterans Resource Center).