It's not really a competition and everyone wins. If you hear about a body shop that gave away a car or helped a local nonprofit in any way, shape or form, the names Mike's Auto Body and G & C Auto Body are likely part of the conversation.
During every holiday season, these two MSOs go over the top to help people and improve their lives significantly, and 2017 was no exception. On Dec. 13, Mike's Auto Body gave vehicles to four deserving Bay Area families. This presentation was our second Benevolence presentation of 2017, which now brings our grand total to 72 cars donated in 17 years.
Everything is donated, including the cars, parts, paint, mechanical inspections, tires and one year of auto insurance. It's a total team effort, and many body and paint technicians donate their time and talents to completely refurbish these "nearly new" Benevolence vehicles.
This year, CSAA Insurance Group, Farmers Insurance, State Farm Insurance and Enterprise Rent A Car participated in the December presentation by donating “written-off” vehicles to be given away to deserving families. Guadalupe Rivera, with two children, received a 2011 Toyota Camry from Farmers Insurance and Recycled Rides through the Hemophilia Foundation of Northern California. Crystal Morris, with four children, received a 2009 Toyota Corolla from State Farm Insurance through the Shepherd's Gate and Recycled Rides. Tonya Montgomery, with two children, received a 2016 Nissan Altima from Enterprise Rent a Car through the Richmond Community Foundation and Spark Point. Hilda Bravo received a 2014 Nissan Altima from CSAA Insurance through UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital.
“We feel 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 44 years," said Mike Rose, owner of Mike's Auto Body. "Being in this business for that long---repairing the vehicles is the easy part. Having to decide on a recipient is the part that’s hard. After receiving hundreds of applications over the years and reading the heartbreaking stories, we only wish that we could do more. But hopefully with increased publicity of our Benevolence Program, other shops will adopt a similar program of their own.”
At G & C Auto Body, the Crozat family had much to be thankful for during the holiday season, even though they had all lost their homes during the recent fires---five total. However, instead of slowing down their charitable efforts throughout the North Bay, they stepped it up and blanketed the area with their own form of benevolence.
Community Outreach Coordinator Carlynn Tocchini outlined a lengthy list of all the charitable projects that G & C Auto Body performed during the holiday season.
"In December, we gave a car away with the Secret Santa program in Sonoma County," she said. "We were able to gift a 2007 Nissan Quest to a family of three---soon to be five. They lost their home and one car in the fires, and five days later found out they were pregnant with twins. So they were most definitely in need of a car that could fit all the kids so Rachel can take them to their appointments while her husband gets to work. We were also able to pay for six months of full coverage insurance for this family, along with $1,000 to Target to pick up supplies for the twins."
In addition, G & C gave a 2011 VW Golf to a single mom of two whose oldest was born with a cleft lip and pallet, and worked with two families who lost their homes in the fires to find permanent placement. One family received a specialty van with a wheelchair lift, and the other got a 2007 Nissan Quest from G & C.
"For Christmas, we were able to help 11 families attain gifts for their 31 children, something the Crozat family does every holiday season," Tocchini said. "Govinda and Teri go through a list of past recipients and ask for updates on people they know were really hurting throughout the year. I then follow up with an update from each family, and Teri and Govinda then decide how much to give. They usually donate $100 per child and always provide Safeway gift cards to ensure these families can have a beautiful holiday meal together on Christmas Day."
Finally, for New Year’s Eve G & C partnered with the Coffee Park New Year’s Eve Event in Santa Rosa, CA, to secure live music, hot chocolate, cider and more than 300 pocket warmers to attendees to benefit the survivors of Coffee Park, one of the most affected areas in the North Bay Area fires.