July 23, 2024

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Wheels of success changing lives with 12 cars of Christmas

Wheels of success changing lives with 12 cars of Christmas

TAMPA — We’ve all heard of the 12 Days of Christmas, but what about the 12 Cars of Christmas? Well, that’s what Wheels of Success are doing, giving away a dozen used cars to families in need this holiday season.

Amanda Wilson is a single mother of two, who walks to her job at the grocery store every night to work the graveyard shift. Now her life is about to get a little bit easier, thanks to Wheels of Success.

“This means the world to me, this is the key to just better my life all around, my kids and I appreciate it so much,” said Wilson, who received a Subaru this week.

“This is crazy, it’s perfect, it’s literally perfect,” said Wilson as soon as the car was unveiled.

The money to fix up this particular car was donated by a group of friends led by Taylor Sanger.

“Some charities you give money to you never actually know where the money goes and how it’s spent,” said Sanger. “Wheels of Success is a tangible charity, you can come here and you can see the car being given away you can see the impact you have on somebody’s life.”

Just when Amanda thought the surprises were over, she took a look in the trunk, expecting a spare tire and finding boxes of presents. She was overcome with emotion simply saying, “Thank you so much.”

During the past 18 years Wheels of Success has helped 2,000 families get back on the road, but this year it was the non-profit that was on the receiving end of such goodwill, moving into their new offices on Florida Avenue in Tampa.

“And that’s all thanks to an angel donor that donated the funds to pay for the rent and utilities,” said founder Susan Jacobs. “For the first time, we’ve had everything in one place which is going to save a huge amount of time logistically picking up cars, getting them here, allowing us to do presentations and events here.

The majority of their volunteers are people who received cars in the past who now want to pay it forward, like Channing Riley.

“I felt everything she went through, the program is just incredible, she is able to be that mom that she wants to be that she can be now,” said Riley referring to Wilson.

Wilson hasn’t even started the engine yet but she is already thinking way down the road when it comes to her kids and her career.

“The possibilities are endless like I can actually take my kids to the park,” said Wilson. “I can open up a cleaning business that I always wanted to do.”

She just hopes she can pay it forward and help another family in need someday.

“I’ve never really had anyone to celebrate Christmas with so this is over the top, the best Christmas ever, the best thing that’s ever happened to me,” said Wilson.

For more information on Wheels of Success go to www.wheelsofsuccess.org