WOODFIN, N.C. (WLOS) — Not having a reliable set of wheels can turn an everyday task into a huge burden, especially during the holidays.
On Friday, some lucky families got an early Christmas present they say they will never forget.
“It’s our new car, buddy,” Dolly Arnold said to her son Austin.
The Arnold family was matched with a car through Working Wheels, a non-profit that fixes donated cars and sells them at a low price to working families in need.
The program is funded 100 percent through the generosity of the community.
“About 50 percent through finding donated cars and 50 percent asking people to help with the auto parts funds or giving cash donations,” Working Wheels executive director Jamie Beasley said.
For Arnold, receiving the early Christmas present meant everything.
“After being a survivor of domestic violence and being a single mom trying to rebuild my life, it’s amazing to have something I can depend on,” Arnold said.
As for her son Austin, he said getting a new car is nothing short of …
“A Christmas miracle,” he said.
And that’s why Beasley said Working Wheels does what it does.
“Because everything changes from this moment forward.”
He said having a dependable car gives families freedom.
“The freedom to pick up a shift at work or go buy some Christmas presents or just do the things you want to do that, normally, you’re having to borrow rides or wait on buses for,” Beasley said.
Recently, Working Wheels surveyed some of the families who have been matched with cars.
“Seventy-four percent of them report that they are making more money right away,” Beasley said. “So, their income increases immediately.”
The Arnold family was the 99th family matched with a car through Working Wheels.
On Friday, they also matched their 100th family with a car.
Jacqueline Phillips said their new minivan is going to be a blessing for her family.
“I’m so thankful,” Phillips said. “It’s so nice that they donate their time and hard work, among other things, to do this for people. I wish there were more places like that, because it’s awesome.”
This year alone, Working Wheels matched 50 families with vehicles.
Moving forward, the nonprofit hopes to keep helping families in the mountains get to where they need to be, one car at a time.