The Gift Of Transportation

For the past 15 years – Naperville CARES has worked to provide cars to those in need to help them find or keep a job – the latest recipient was a single mother of three from Naperville.

“I wasn’t thinking anything but tears. I’m so grateful, I could just cry,” said Natasha Brown as she saw her new car.

Brown, a Naperville resident and single mother of three was overwhelmed with emotion when she arrived to pick up her new vehicle from Gerber Collision & Glass in Downers Grove.

Farmers Insurance donated the car to a nationwide car donation program called Recycled Rides. From there, Gerber Collision & Glass donated parts and labor to refurbish the 2005 Ford Explorer.
Gerber then partnered with Naperville CARES to connect the car with Brown, their client.

Until now, Brown had to either walk to work or find a way to get there.

“She has a job. She is going to be able to get to that job without having to rely on anyone else, without relying on a taxi service or a bus service,” said Doug Tulloch, a Naperville CARES volunteer who works with the car program. “And her kids can do before and after school activities because she can get them there.”

“I now get the chance for us to take family pictures, and go to the zoo and the beach,” said Brown.

Naperville CARES, a not-for-profit that provides short-term monetary support for residents in financial crisis, is celebrating 15 years of their car program.

“We like to look at it as donate your car, transform a life,” said Janet Derrick, Executive Director for Naperville CARES. “Because when you donate your car, unlike many of the other programs out there we make every attempt to put someone in that vehicle.”

“I’m grateful for every agency that put their minds, energy, and their time into making this a dream come true for me and my kids,” said Brown.

Naperville CARES also gave Natasha two oil changes for her new car to keep it running smoothly. This donation was the 625th car Naperville CARES has donated to families in need since the program’s start in 1999.

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