That all changed thanks to Zara’s Collision Center’s Benevolence Program gifting a 2005 Chrysler 300 to Fortune and her family at a luncheon Dec. 5 at the Zara’s facility.
“It was a struggle each day trying to figure out how I would have money for transportation for work, go to my daughter's school functions and get around town to take care of household duties,” said Fortune. “It saddened me because my daughter made Student of the Month for the first time in middle school and it was close to pay day, so I had to decide to pay for a cab to the luncheon or make sure I had the cab money to go to and from work. I had to make the decision to not attend her luncheon.”
To be eligible for a Benevolence Program vehicle, a person must be associated with a not-for-profit agency or church, have a valid driver’s license, a good driving record and a verified need for a vehicle.
“The motivation and perseverance to have a better life for herself and her family is truly touching,” said Julie Zara, co-owner of Zara’s Collision Center. “The strong faith that Jennea has definitely is the foundation of her life and provides so much direction.”
The vehicle presented was donated by Contact Ministries board member and long-time volunteer Cindy White, who has seen from all angles what a blessing a vehicle is to the recipients and its positive impact on lives. Zara’s coordinated the refurbishing of the engine and preparation for road readiness. A comprehensive maintenance check was done to verify the vehicle’s safety and reliability.
“After losing my brother a year ago, I didn't have the support anymore that helped out a lot,” said Fortune. “This automobile gives me the jumpstart I need in life to become more self-sufficient. My goal is to get my finances situated to live a comfortable and healthy life. With reliable transportation, I can reach my goal.”
Zara’s vendors, employees, friends, family and insurance agents also actively support the program. Well over 60 donors contributed to the program this year for items such as vehicle repair, paint material, mechanical work, gift cards and monetary gifts exceeding $11,000.
Zara’s Collision Center is located at 3117 Wide Track Drive in Springfield, IL. The company has restored and donated more than 40 vehicles during the 20 years of the Benevolence Program’s existence.