|Julia Humphries receives her ticket to independence -- the key to her refurbished car -- as her four children look on.|
As an award for responsible parenting, two deserving families were chosen to receive "new," used cars. Katrina Armstead, single mother of two boys, was presented the award at the Baytown, while Julia Annette Humphries, a single mother of four, was the award recipient at the North Channel location.
Lee Bates, president of Bates Custom & Collision, explained that "each year the collision repair industry as a whole comes across cars that are 'written off' by either the owner or the insurance company. Oftentimes, these are older vehicles that just need some mechanical and bodywork to get them road-ready and perfectly safe to drive. Because we believed these cars are going to waste when there are people who really need them, we decided to do something about it. This year will be our 10th vehicle to present, since the program's inception in 1999. Our employees work year-round on the endeavor to select and repair the vehicles, collect toys and gifts to fill the cars' interiors."
|Katrina Armstead tries her new car on for size.|
For the seventh year in a row, Bates continued, "our employees have volunteered their time to refurbish a vehicle. It's a real team effort! We view this program as a helping hand up, and this year we were especially touched by these mothers' dedication to their family, community and their drive for independence; despite the tremendous hardship of doing all of this without transportation." These parents have been actively involved in their children's early childhood education, and hopefully their lives will be significantly improved by the gift of a car.
The two refurbished vehicles from Bates Custom & Collision were given to families identified through Harris County Department of Education Head Start, a federal child-development program that promotes school readiness in children ages 3-4. The families also received six months of liability insurance from local insurance agents Larry Wilkey State Farm in Baytown, Texas, and Nunley Insurance Agency in Channelview, Texas.
Julia Humphries, proud mother of four - Brandy (10), LaKendra (9), Tiara (4), and Thadeus (3) - is very grateful for the opportunities Head Start has afforded her family by providing childcare. Humphries has to be at work at 6:00 am and has been utilizing the mass transit system to go to work, the grocery store, and the laundry mat. After seeing her with her four children and 15 bags of groceries or laundry baskets, the Metro bus driver said she can do more with holding bags than he has ever seen.
Without reliable transportation, Humphries has had to choose necessities over fun. With the car, she now believes she will be able to utilize her time and money better. Some goals she now hopes to reach include: moving to a safer place, saving money on groceries by buying in bulk instead of what she can carry, getting preventative care for her children's health, and attending school to get certification for food service for better employment and opportunities for her family. She has never had a car and has worked very hard to provide for her family.
Even as she applied to receive a car, Humphries was cognizant that there were many other deserving candidates. She said: "there are so many people in the same shoes as I am but I want the chance to go to another level. Thank you all for this opportunity and I know that whoever gets a car is deserving of it. My kids and I are hoping and praying that you choose us. God bless."
Bates Custom and Collision was proud to answer her prayers as they awarded her with the 2005 Responsible Parenting Award - the Benevolence car.
Many area businesses graciously donated parts, mechanical services, paint materials and gifts, including Akzo Nobel, Enterprise Rent-A-Car, Action Glass, Best Mazda/Hyundai, Parts Unlimited, Discount Auto Service, Discount Tire Company, O'Reilly Auto Parts, Wal-Mart, H.E.B. Pantry, Kroger, Toys R Us, Performance Radiators, Champion GM, A-Bonus Safe & Lock, Spillers Automotive, and Cogbill Company.
Bates Custom & Collision is one of the many Acoat Selected Repair Centers across the country that, through volunteer staff hours, presented "new" used vehicles to deserving families during the holiday season each year.