It was an emotional morning for one local Orlando caregiver Thursday as she was handed keys to a fully restored 2015 Kia Optima. The presentation took place at Service King Collision Repair Centers of Orlando as part of the Service King Cares initiative and National Auto Body Council Recycled Rides Program.
The vehicle was restored to like-new condition thanks to the volunteer efforts of certified auto body technicians from Service King and will prove to be life-changing for Ms. Sylvia Batten – a 56-year-old caregiver who just months ago was homeless and caring for her five-year-old niece. Now, she’s back on her feet after successfully completing a self-sustainability program through Family Promise of Greater Orlando and has access to reliable personal transportation.
“The gift of reliable transportation has the power to change lives,” said Cabe Terrell, Service King Market Director for Florida. “It’s an absolute joy for the Service King family to band together in support of a local Orlando family in need. We hope this vehicle continues to propel Sylvia in her journey.”
Family Promise of Greater Orlando, whose mission is to provide shelter and supportive services to assist homeless families in achieving sustainable housing quickly, nominated Sylvia for Thursday’s giveaway.
“Unless you have firsthand experience with not owning a reliable vehicle for an extended amount of time, it’s impossible to completely understand the effects and consequences,” said Marthea Baskerville, Case Manager and Program Coordinator for Family Promise. “For Sylvia, a lack of car ownership prohibited her from obtaining extra income – which only perpetuates the cycle of financial struggles. When a family is restricted by a lack of car ownership, children often receive the worst end of things. Because they aren’t able to go places without parental supervision, they are usually forced to stay home and forgo opportunities for self-improvement, exercise, and socialization. When a family is able to secure a vehicle, everything changes.”
The Service King Cares initiative has handed over keys to several families across the country this year as part of the NABC Recycled Rides initiative – including presentations in Seattle and Chicago this summer. The organization is a longtime partner of the program and in 2016 set a collision repair industry record by restoring 40 vehicles for 40 families in need in a single giveaway to celebrate the company’s 40th anniversary.