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Dealership and United Way partner up to get people in need reliable cars

Published: Nov. 18, 2020 at 6:27 PM CST
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HASTINGS, Neb. (KSNB) - In the Hastings community, transportation can be a major barrier for some people. It is why the United Way of South Central Nebraska and Hastings Ford-Lincoln are teaming up to fix up donated cars to give to those in need. The Wheels for Work program aims to help those in the community who need a ride.

“Actually when you hear some of the stories you don’t really realize what some people don’t have and that we just take it for granted,” Hastings Ford-Lincoln Owner Scott Sterling said. “It is super important to be able to have a vehicle if you have children that you need to take to school, go to the grocery store, go to work.”

Having a set of wheels to get to and from work or just around town is a seemingly simple thing that could change someone’s life.

“Transportation is actually one of the biggest barriers in our community because we don’t have any kind of real reliable public transportation,” said Jodi Graves, Executive Director of the United Way of South Central Nebraska. “We have things like the Ryde bus but that’s not always easily accessible for people.”

Cars donated to the Wheels for Work program are fixed up and approved by the Hastings Ford-Lincoln dealership. Then someone nominated by a social services agency is selected by United Way based on their needs and the cars available. The cars that can’t be fixed are sold and the funds go back to United Way.

“These aren’t brand new fancy cars. What we are looking for are safe and reliable,” Graves said. “We want them to be able to get somebody to school reliably or get them to a job, a vehicle that starts every morning so that somebody can maintain employment.”

Sterling wanted to find a way to get involved in the community and give back in any way he could. It has been a slow start to get cars for the program but those they have given away have been a success.

“When she received that vehicle she was able to go to school, get a degree, and increase her wages dramatically,” Sterling said. “Dramatically changed her life. I could say from the experience of what I’ve seen and that was a great first situation. You always have that hope that is going to make an impact in a really positive way.”

The United Way selects people who show they can budget for car repairs and other licensing costs. The dealership also pitches in to help them with the maintenance. They hope to see more stories of people making positive changes with their new rides.

If anyone thinks they have a car that would be a good fit for the program can reach out to the United Way of South Central Nebraska.

301 S Burlington

Hastings, NE 68901

402-461-8412

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