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Wheels for Work helps families get to jobs, appointments

Almost every day going to work, our staff will see Maria walking her 7-year-old daughter, Angie, to the DART bus station on Central Avenue every morning. Angie takes the DART bus to school every day. Maria then picks Angie up there after school and they walk back home together. It’s about a six block walk each way. This happens in both good and bad weather. It warms our hearts to see this loving mother walk her daughter to the bus stop because she wants her to be safe getting to school and back home.

Because Maria cannot afford a personal vehicle, she has to walk everywhere – to work, to the grocery store, to doctor appointments and so many other places. For most of us, these tasks are easy because we jump into our cars and drive there. For Maria and many others in our community who have no personal transportation, these simple tasks become a real burden.

For George and his family, having a car is an absolute necessity. George and his wife have two young children and a new baby expected any day. Unfortunately, their 17-year-old car recently broke down and the repair costs exceed $4,000, more than the value of their car. George and his family don’t have the money to fix their car or buy a different vehicle. George now walks to work every day, over a mile and half each way. When his wife is ready to deliver, they will probably take the DART bus to the hospital or call for an ambulance.

Let’s face it, life without a personal vehicle becomes very difficult. How do you get to doctor appointments? What will you do when the baby arrives? What about getting to work? These strong families, hardworking as they are, face so many challenges when they lack personal transportation.

The Wheels for Work program at United Way was started to help people get transportation so they could find and keep a job. The reality is, we could call our car donation program many names: it could be: Wheels for Health, Wheels for Groceries, and Wheels for School, etc. No matter what it is called, the one thing we know is that without a car, it means the family walks every day to and from work, the grocery store, the school or other places they need to be.

George’s family is in urgent need of a vehicle. Unfortunately, we don’t have a vehicle to give to them at this time; and, there are others on the waiting list as well. All these families need transportation. They have children, they have jobs that they walk to every day, and they have groceries to buy, doctor’s appointments to get to, and many other responsibilities that require personal transportation. As you can imagine, life without personal transportation becomes much, much more difficult.

If you are thinking of trading in your reliable car for a different vehicle, please consider donating it to our Wheels for Work program. Your old car or van might be a life-changing donation to a family in need of a personal vehicle.

Vehicle donation is tax-deductible – Fort Dodge Ford Toyota checks the donated vehicle to ensure that it is safe and in good running condition before it is presented to a family. Fort Dodge Ford Toyota and United Way take care of all the paperwork, so it is a quick and simple procedure for the donor.

Please consider donating your used vehicle that you no longer need to Wheels for Work. You will be making a miraculous donation to a disadvantaged, hard-working family in need. For more information on the Wheels for Work program, please call United Way at 515-573-3180 and we can make the donation a very easy process for you.

Amy Bruno is the program coordinator for the United Way of Greater Fort Dodge.

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