Neighbors Helping Neighbors

Vicki Myers is a single mother living in a Naperville apartment with her three sons. She’s been bicycling to her job in Plainfield because she couldn’t afford to buy a car after her old vehicle’s engine wore out.

“I just did was I had to do,” said Myers. “I’ve been riding an hour and a half each way to work every day on Route 59.”

Her commute would otherwise take only twenty minutes by car. Every day Myers said she’d stop at a church on her way to and from work to pray for a car so she could get a better job to make more money for her kids.

Thanks to Naperville Cares’ car donation program and a generous donor, her prayers have been answered.

“I can do the normal things like go grocery shopping and going to the doctor and getting to work and not have to ride two hours,” said Myers.

Naperville resident Elizabeth Konopka donated the vehicle, the third one she’s donated since the program started in 1999.

“To think that someone could have a life change with receiving something like this that I helped be a part of, it’s very heartwarming,” said Konopka.

Mechanics at Naper Auto Works detail the donated cars and make sure they’re safe.

“We’re going to check breaks, steering linkage, suspension, undercarriage,” said Jim Hess, owner of Naper Auto Works. “We’re going to look the car over for any obvious flaws; basically make sure that the car’s road-worthy,”

Naperville Cares has refurbished and given away more than 400 vehicles. But that doesn’t begin to meet the demand.

“With a bad economy, people are holding onto their cars longer,” said Janet Derrick, Executive Director for Naperville Cares. “When they end up donating a car, it’s a much higher mileage car, [it] takes a lot more money to repair the car or it can’t even be repaired.”

“Hopefully more people will give cars because I know there are people worse off than my situation and I’ve been very blessed today,” said Myers of the car donation program. “I hope if nothing else that this program will bless some other family as well.”

There are twelve other people who’d like a similar blessing. They’re approved for a car, but waiting for a donation. If you have a used car you’d like to donate, you can call 630-369-0200 or visit the Naperville Cares website at www.napervillecares.org.

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