Monday, 28 February 2005 09:00

Single mothers reap benefits of AN Benevolence Program

Written by Ragen Rose
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Christmas came early for many people this year. Fifty-seven auto body shops across the United States and Canada participated in Akzo Nobel Sikkens Acoat selected National Benevolence Program. More than 70 refurbished cars were given to families or organizations in need of reliable transportation. Throughout the month of December, cars from all across the nation found new homes for the sixth year in a row. 

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Doris Davis wipes away tears as she is presented with a 1998 Ford Windstar refurbished by Mike Rose's Auto Body.

Mike Rose's Auto Body of Concord, California is just one of the shops who participated in the program this year. "We are very fortunate to be involved with such a wonderful program and are very excited to be able to give back to the community that has supported us for the past 32 years.

"This is our fourth year participating with the program and this was the ninth vehicle we were able to present to deserving families," stated Mike Rose, owner of Mike Rose's Auto Body, which presented two vans this year to two single mothers living in the Bay area.
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Corina Hidalgo talks with Channel 7 reporter Wayne Freedman after receiving a reconditioned 1998 Dodge Caravan through the Akzo Nobel Sikkens Acoat selected National Benevolence Program.

Grateful recipients

Corina Hidalgo, a single parent from Pittsburg, California, received a '98 Dodge Caravan donated by AAA of Northern California. Having this vehicle will enable Corina to take her three children to and from school and afterschool activities.

Brian of Big O' Tires, Concord Avenue location, handed a teary-eyed Corina the keys to her "new used" van. This is Brian's fourth year participating in the program by providing tires, brakes and mechanical checks for all the vehicles. AAA has been participating for two years with the community in order to provide "new used" vehicles to those in need.

Doris Davis, a single parent of 6 children and 1 granddaughter, received a '98 Ford Windstar, donated by first year participant Mercury Insurance. Dave from LKQ Northern California handed Doris her keys.

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1998 Ford Windstar earmarked for Doris Davis
Each of these women, who have full time jobs along with being full-time parents, have been without reliable transportation for some time. Receiving these vehicles will make life a little easier for both families.

More than 25 companies donated either parts, services or monetary donations towards the Benevolence vans and a combined effort of more than 35 employees and technicians at Mike's donated their time and skills to get these two vans road ready.

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Corina Hidalgo's "new" 1998 Dodge Caravan

"What is so unique about the program is that everything is donated on the cars, even the cars themselves. It becomes a real community effort to put these vehicles together," explained Sal Contreras, marketing manager for Mike's.

Wayne Freedman of Channel 7 News has been covering the story for the past four years. When interviewing one of last year's recipients, KJ, who received a '97 Ford Taurus, Freedman asked her: "Has receiving the car changed your life?" She responded with a huge smile and commented "Absolutely."

About the Benevolence program

The pioneering Acoat selected National Benevolence Program is a partnership initiative designed to hand over renovated cars to the less fortunate. The program involves collision repair companies fully refurbishing vehicles that would otherwise have been written off or discarded.

Launched in 1999, the vehicles are traditionally handed over around Christ-mas time. Surrounding businesses often supply the families with other gifts and necessities as well.

"In 2003, we had 26 collision repair facilities participate in the program, but that number has more than doubled this year, and so has the number of people that are assisted," explained this year's program coordinator for Akzo Nobel, Chris Donnelly.

"We are thrilled to continue to support the benevolence program, which helps so many families throughout North America." Throughout the month of December, participating Acoat selected members will deliver the refurbished vehicles to their new owners, with some participants giving away more than one car.