Wheels to Work program helping Blount Co. families get back on the road

Local News

An East Tennessee charity is working to help families without a car get back on the road. Family Promise of Blount County recently launched a new program called “Wheels to Work.”

This week we spotted one of their recent Facebook posts congratulating the newest owner of a donated SUV.

“I’m forever grateful. It’s a huge gift. It’s a huge blessing,” said Angela Head who was the recipient of the vehicle.

Head is a single mom of two and a nurse who lives in Maryville. She says their family has been out of a car for some time.

“Not being able to go to the grocery store if you run out of milk or bread or something, you think ‘Oh I’ll just go get some.’ Well, it’s not that easy when you don’t have this,” said Head.

The Head family came into Family Promise of Blount County in the first part of June. Over the last few months, they’ve gotten a home of their own and just a few days ago, a car.

“I never thought I could do anything like this on my own, but I have and I don’t know what to say. I don’t have words for that. I’m just very happy and very blessed,” said Head.

Her four wheels are possible through Family Promise of Blount County’s new program Wheels to Work.

“We don’t have public transportation and so it’s very challenging and presents a huge barrier to folks who don’t have a car,” said Executive Director Kathi Parkins.

Families apply and from there, case managers look at each applicant to make sure they can afford their insurance.

“They pay $50 a month for these cars for one year and with that, they’re required to take a car care class, a budgeting class and then we sign them up for AAA,” said Parkins.

The vehicles are used and donate. With funding from a United Way grant, Family Promise is able to spend $500-$600 on repairs for the car including brakes, tires, alternators and starters.

It’s a gift for so many handing off the keys. For the Head family, it’s independence.

“I’m loving it and I’m everywhere all the time now,” said Head.

So far there have been five applicants. We’re told because of the United Way grant, Family Promise is able to help families outside of their organization.

We spoke to another single mom who lives in Maryville and works in North Knoxville. She’ll soon be receiving the second car through this program.

“It’s going to mean everything to me. This is a huge blessing like this is a huge weight lifted off me and thi sis a way for me to be established, to get me to where I need to go and my children to meet our needs. To work, to live, to the grocery store,” said April Nolan.

If you would like to help one of the many deserving families in Blount County, you can donate a used car to the Wheels to Work program. We’re told vehicles should be ones needing minor repairs. Financial donations can also be made to help pay for mechanic work. Family Promise of Blount County hoping to partner with area mechanics to help with repairs as well.

For more information, you can click here or you can call (865) 233-4737.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

WATE 6 On Your Side Twitter