The Igarza family, Garland family, and Chapman family, all residing in Tampa, were helped out by Allstate Insurance, Catholic Charities of St. Petersburg and Gerber Collision and Glass after bad fortune had left them carless.
The insurance company, charities, and body shop helped refurbish three vehicles for these families in need. Recycled Rides, a program created by the National Auto Body Council, organized the good deeds and awarded the cars to the families on March 13.
The local recipients detailed stories of difficult times and strife in submission essays, but all mentioned that they were working to make a better life, reported Kelsey Sutherland of the Times Correspondent.
Luis Igarza and his family escaped persecution and imprisonment from the Cuban government in August when he traveled to the United States and received refugee status, reported Sutherland.
Through Catholic Charities Refugee Resettlement program, the Igarza family was provided housing and a means to study English. Eventually, Igarza earned a full-time job at Walmart through the program.
Igarza works the 10 p.m. to 7 a.m. shift, which he had been riding his bike to. Now, he has a safer means of transportation.
Kathleen Chapman is a single mother of two daughters, one of whom has autism, anxiety and irritable bowel syndrome. The family relied solely on public transportation for doctor appointments and extracurricular activities, reported Sutherland.
In 2010, Gary Garland and wife Cathy lost their jobs within a week of each other, as well as their only child. By 2011, they were able to find a bit of solace living at Pinellas Hope. After obtaining that housing, they we able to find jobs but their lack of transportation meant walking six miles every day, which they still believe was a blessing, reported Sutherland.
The refurbished cars have provided all three families with a sense of normalcy that many take for granted.