Since 2015, Wheels for Work has been accepting donated vehicles to give away to local individuals in need if they are able to cover title and registration fees. Along with a short list of qualifications, applicants that are working full time, have children in their household, and don’t own another vehicle qualify to receive a vehicle. After a year-long status check-in, the owner is then given the title and officially owns the vehicle independently.
This program was brought to Ames seven years ago through a partnership with Ames Ford Lincoln. Vehicle donations are serviced and repaired by Ames Ford Lincoln to ensure safety and reliability for the new owner. Vehicles that aren’t repairable to operate in good running condition are scrapped, and the funds are saved for future vehicle repairs. Every single car donated makes an impact towards the goals of the Wheels for Work program.
This October, Wheels for Work received its 100th car donation! Nearly 70 of these donated vehicles have been able to be gifted to a qualified family in need, families who are screened and referred by several local agencies. The other 30 vehicles, along with financial donor gifts, have helped to fund program costs to ensure Wheels for Work continues to operate for free to local individuals.
Over the program’s run, 98% of families reported having improved access to needed services like medical appointments, family obligations, employment, etc. since receiving a vehicle from Wheels for Work. Nearly a quarter of recipients reported getting a promotion or pay raise within 12 months of obtaining a vehicle, and 83% were able to remain in school or at their job a year later.
With countless success stories, Wheels for Work looks forward to the next 100 vehicles, offering the gift of stability and increased accessibility to the families it impacts. Recipients have been able to increase hours worked from not depending on bus routes, children have been able to participate in after school activities that they couldn’t before, and families are able to reduce the number of times they visit the grocery store, now having the means to transport an entire week’s worth of groceries home with them. These small victories are the reason this program exists – to increase the quality of life for individuals and families right here in this community.
To donate a vehicle, contact Nick or Casey Johnson at Ames Ford Lincoln. All vehicle donations are tax deductible. If you are in need of a reliable vehicle and don’t own one, visit www.uwstory.org/wheels-for-work to see if you qualify to apply.