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Homeless mother working for Lyft gets free car

Vehicles donated by Charity Cars to clients of Family Promise North Fulton/DeKalb who are experiencing homelessness. Photo Courtesy of Todd DeFeo
Vehicles donated by Charity Cars to clients of Family Promise North Fulton/DeKalb who are experiencing homelessness. Photo Courtesy of Todd DeFeo

Credit: TODD DEFEO

Credit: TODD DEFEO

Two charities and an auto repair shop have teamed up to donate a car to a working single mother experiencing homelessness.

Aby is a client of the charity Family Promise of North Fulton/DeKalb. With help from the nonprofit, she and her 10-year-old son, Nick, have been living in a Sunday school classroom at St. Luke’s Presbyterian Church in Dunwoody since January. The AJC is not using Aby’s last name in order to help her avoid the negative perceptions that comes with being homeless.

While homeless, Aby started working as a Lyft driver. She was leasing a vehicle from the transportation company and working up to 80 hours per week, she said, which earned her enough to make a weekly car payment. Aby said the donated car will save her $800 a month, which she can use toward regaining financial stability.

On Wednesday, Aby was given a 2010 Volvo V60 donated by Charity Cars, with assistance from Family Promise and Midas Alpharetta.

“It’s exciting and a relief,” Aby said, adding that she was a self-employed fashion designer living in Buckhead until financial problems arose last year.

“In December, I started looking online for shelters and housing because I was about to lose my apartment,” she said.

Andrea Brantley, executive director of the Family Promise office in Dunwoody, said the charity helps families experiencing situational hardship that could have come about after a job loss, divorce, illness or other circumstances.

“We get 50 phone calls a day from people asking for help with gas, toiletries, diapers, feminine products,” she said.

The organization usually works with several different faith congregations to rotate overnight stays of homeless families. Since the coronavirus pandemic started in March, however, only St. Luke’s has accommodated families, Brantley said.

Brantley said her office has worked with Charity Cars three times. The first car was donated in 2019. Aby and another person received their cars at the same time Wednesday at Midas Alpharetta. The charities work with the client to secure vehicle registration and insurance, she said.

The Atlanta District Manager for Midas, Erik Passaro, said Florida-based Charity Cars called in 2018 to ask if Midas would be willing to spruce up donated cars for free. Midas donates auto parts and mechanics at the Alpharetta auto shop donate their time, he said. Nationwide, Midas has repaired 55 vehicles for the charity car company, Passaro said.

“We always try to get big bows for the (top of the) car,” he said of Wednesday’s car donations. “Tears are going. Kids are excited. The mechanics are clapping. It was amazing.”