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Back in the driver’s seat: Local woman gets car though Wheels4Hope

Photo by Todd Luck

Back in the driver’s seat: Local woman gets car though Wheels4Hope
August 31
03:00 2017

Patricia McGregor became the first local Circles participant to get a car through the non-profit, Wheels4Hope last week.

Wheels4Hope takes donated cars, fixes them up and then sales them for $500 plus tax to those who wouldn’t normally be able to afford an automobile. McGregor accepted the keys to her 2004 Nissan Altima in front of Green Street United Methodist Church, where she regularly attends the Shalom Project’s local Circles program. Circles teams low income individuals, with middle class allies who help them find ways to improve their situation.

McGregor has been without a car for two years after her previous vehicle had engine problems she couldn’t afford to fix. She said she felt very blessed when she finally saw her new car at the church.

“I never expected anything like this,” said McGregor. “I was patient and I waited and waited.”

She’s a certified nursing assistant who provides in-home care and, until recently, also did housekeeping on the weekend. She’s been taking the bus to get to her clients, which required her to learn the routes and then relearn them when they changed this year. When she had to get to a client early in the morning, before a bus could take her there, she would pay $8 a trip for an Uber ride.

With her new car she’s able to stop being a housekeeper and take on more clients as a CNA. She said it’ll also make it easier to visit her family in Greensboro.

Wheels4Hope serves the Triad and Triangle areas. It requires recipients to have a valid driver’s license, to not currently have an automobile and to be a wage earner. It works though organizations, like the Circles initiative, to find its recipients. In Winston-Salem, Wheels4Hope has also worked through Experiment in Reliance, Family Services and the Housing Authority of Winston-Salem. In 18 years, the non-profit has sold 21,000 cars to people in need statewide. 

Peter Tyler, Wheels4Hope Triad hub manager, said McGregor’s new car will save her the many long hours she spent riding the bus. That type of freedom opens up opportunity for those that Wheels4Hope helps.

“It increases people’s independence,” said Tyler. “It increases their ability to take that other shift at the job that’s after the bus line runs. It allows them to get to their kids’ extra curricular actives at school. They’re not beholden to the bus lines. It also frees up their days.”

Circles Coach Carol Wilson said she was glad to have a partnership with Wheels4Hope. Transportation is a common problem for those in Circles and Wilson hopes McGregor is the first of many who’ll be able to get a car.

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Todd Luck

Todd Luck

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