Many people are just one missed paycheck away from a major financial crisis. And for Naperville resident Chase Riley, he knows this bump in the road can be made worse without a reliable means of transportation.
“I had a car when I was 18, it was a Jeep and the transmission just went out one day,” said Chase Riley, Car Recipient at ‘Driven to Care’. “I had a job as a baker at Panera and I ended up losing it because I had to commute to multiple Panera’s and I just couldn’t.”
Eventually, he got a hold of a bike and did what he had to do to make ends meet, jumping around from job to job.
“I was biking 6 miles to work and then I would work 11-12 hour shifts every day and then bike 6 miles back,” said Riley.
Fortunately, he won’t be pedaling to work this winter.
Continental Motors Group donated a car to Chase and seven others at their 4th annual ‘Driven to Care’ event at Continental Mazda.
The car company teamed up with Naperville CARES and LaGrange Pillars, to find deserving families who may struggle getting to work.
The organizations hope is that they can help to lessen the burden and help these people keep their jobs.
“It’s just a huge positive impact when you think about the mobility of going to work, or a child getting to school, or a medical appointment, or something like that. Cars are essential really, it kind of opens your life,” said Joel Weinberger, Dealer Principal at Continental Motors Naperville.
But getting to this destination wasn’t a breeze, dozens of applications were received and Naperville CARES car program sat down with each candidate to listen to their stories.
“You know these people are working hard. You talk to these people they’ve been working hard, one woman got up at 4:30 to get to her job at 8 which is 15 minutes away, because of transportation, so they’ve been working hard and we’re just trying to make their lives a little bit easier so it’s very rewarding,” said Janet Derrick, Executive Director of Naperville CARES.
To Joel, cars are just metal, rubber and plastic, and the Driven to Care program gives them a heart.
“It’s a very emotional moment both for us and for the recipients, a lot of genuine smiles, a lot of genuine tears, just a really good feeling deep down that you’re doing something great for somebody. We really enjoy doing it it’s one of our favorite days of the year here,” said Weinberger.
And for Chase, this gift reminds him that there’s a long road ahead of him.
“It really motivates me to keep going, that good things do happen. I mean just keep pushing forward, karma you know, it also makes me want to go out and see what I can do to give back,” said Riley.
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