Branning Collision Centers, GEICO, Enterprise Rent-a-Car, LKQ Corporation, Hertz Corporation and other local businesses teamed up to give a Central Jersey teacher and her daughter a memorable back-to-school gift.
Mary (name withheld) received keys to a completely refurbished 2014 Honda Odyssey as part of the National Auto Body Council’s Recycled RidesTM program, an industry-wide program in which members of the National Auto Body Council collaborate to repair and donate vehicles to individuals and families in need.
|(Photo courtesy of Hollee Photographee) (left to right) Eric Tomkiewicz, GEICO Area District Manager Central New Jersey; Paul Branning, Owner Branning Collision Centers; Mary, vehicle recipient; Kim Branning, and Branning Collision technicians.|
Mary’s struggles began several years ago when she lost her job. Unable to find steady employment during the economic downturn, she quickly went through her savings and eventually lost her home. She turned to the FISH Hospitality Program for shelter and she also began substitute teaching. With the organization’s support, Mary has now moved into her own apartment.
“At age 52, with a master’s degree and more than 20 years in a successful management career, I never expected to be homeless, “ Mary said as she received keys to her new vehicle. “This gift is so exciting. I didn’t know what we were going to do about getting a newer vehicle, so this is tremendous. My daughter is really excited – thank you!”
The Honda Odyssey will replace an unreliable 20-year-old pickup truck with over 200,000 miles. Even more important, the vehicle enables Mary to accept more teaching assignments to increase her income and also be able to enjoy attending her daughter’s extracurricular school activities.
“Mary is a hard-working, self-motivated individual and we hope this gift of reliable transportation will help turn the corner towards a brighter future for her family,” said Kim Branning of Branning Collision Centers. “Lack of reliable transportation is one of the biggest obstacles for individuals like Mary who struggle to rebuild their lives. We are pleased we could do this for her with GEICO and other colleagues in the industry.”
Other local businesses that contributed materials and services towards the Recycled Rides vehicle include Albert Kemperle, Dover Dodge, All American Auto Salvage, BMA Distributing, and Flemington Car and Truck.