After months without reliable transportation while juggling work and family as single parents, Harris County Department of Education Head Start single moms Sheena Gulley and Parishellia Banks are receiving a special gift from Bates Collision Centers: the gift of transportation.
In its 20th year, HCDE Head Start’s partnership with Bates Collision Centers is giving away cars No. 35 and 36 to two moms who will be recognized with the Responsible Parenting Award. Bates Collision owners Lee and Leila Bates have made this annual giveaway a priority because they recognize the sacrifices parents often have to make in order to provide for their children.
Banks and Gulley were nominated by Head Start Center managers. Bates employees donate time to work on the cars and help fill them with gifts, and other community members and businesses donate gas, insurance and materials needed to rehab the cars.
Leila said that both she and Lee are proud of their employees who continue to supply time and resources to families they have yet to meet.
“Wow, it’s hard to believe that our tradition of gifting transportation to hard-working, deserving families in need is 20 years old,” said Lee. “Even though this program is all about giving to others, there’s no doubt that we are the ones that receive the biggest gift: the gift of helping others.”
“It’s our favorite day of the year---when we get to see the smiles on the families’ faces as they tear off the bright red wrapping paper to find their shiny ‘new’ car inside,” said Leila. “It’s especially fun to hear the giggles of the kiddos as they open the trunk to find it loaded with gifts with their names on them. It’s a 20-year-old Christmas tradition that gets all of our staff involved in the spirit of giving.”
HCDE Superintendent James Colbert Jr. said, “Generous community members like the Bates, their employees and supporters set the bar for community service. These cars transform families, and we are thankful for 20 years of commitment and giving from the Bates.”