WFLA: ‘Wheels of Success’ Helps Workers Needing a Car

TAMPA – There are 20 new car owners on the roads of the Bay area today thanks to an organization that puts struggling, full-time workers behind the wheel of a donated used vehicle.

The program, Wheels of Success, started in 2003 and has given away more than 275 used vehicles.

At a special presentation in Tampa this morning, Lenore Hubbard, a single mom who works as a home health nurse, received the keys to her 1994 Nissan Altima.

Hubbard has been taking the bus to work each day, sometimes riding for two hours at a time. She says her new Altima will give her a freedom she hasn’t enjoyed since giving up a vehicle she could no longer drive in October 2008.

“When I do borrow my mom’s car or a neighbor’s car we have a time limit, and we have to go when they need us to go, and now it’s up to us,” Hubbard said.

“When we want to go we can go. When we want to come home we can come home.”

The Wheels of Success program requires participants to make payments they can afford over the course of a year-long contract. They also have to perform community service hours, which vehicle recipients are always willing to do, organizers say.

Jean Snyder can attest to that. She still drives the Saturn she received from Wheels for Success in 2007 and keeps coming back to participate in other presentations.

“I came back to help detail all the cars for this year,” Snyder said.

She said the program helps put recipients on the road to success.

“You don’t need a new car. You need a car that you can afford to make the payments, be comfortable and be mobile and you know get around.”