It's less than 90 days to Christmas, but Wheels of Hope St. Louis is already giving gifts.
Recently, Wheels of Hope gifted a 1996 Honda Civic to LySyin Lobster, a single mom in O'Fallon MO.
“I have always wanted a Honda, but I have never been able to afford one," Lobster said. "This is a blessing to me, I have been struggling to find reliable and affordable transportation since 2006. I live in St. Charles County and there is no metro link or metro bus out here."
Wheels of Hope is a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing reliable cars to those that need them the most.
Scott McRoberts founder of Wheels of Hope ministry and owner of Hart Automotive, explained, “We have one car to give away for every 12 people that apply. If we get more people to donate cars we would be able to put them in the hands of deserving people.”
So far this year, Wheels of Hope has given away 23 cars.
“Many charities in our area ask people to donate cars, but few put them back into the hands of people who need them the most," McRoberts said. "For us the mission is giving people transportation. Having transportation allows recipients to get back and forth to work to support their families. It opens doors for them that wouldn't be open otherwise. We are giving people a hand up not a hand out. That's why we require a reinvestment fee. We sell these cars at greatly discounted rate to applicants.”
McRoberts said God inspired him to start the ministry.
“After some friends of mine at First Baptist Church in O'Fallon shared about their experience as missionaries, I was inspired to start the Wheels of Hope ministry," he said. "I kept thinking what talent do I have and how can I use it to serve. I realized I know cars and people need transportation. The Wheels of Hope ministry pilot started at First Baptist Church in O'Fallon. The first car we had donated came from Mr. Blessings.”
Wheels of Hope has expanded in the six years they have been in operation. Wheels of Hope now operates in nine churches in the greater St. Louis area.
The donated cars are repaired and restored to good condition. Hart Automotive provides all the repair work.
"We get the parts at decent rates because we buy so many and we provide the labor," McRoberts said. "Every car they receive is not a fit for the program, even if you have a junker, donate it."
Wheels of Hope sells to the salvage yard and then uses the proceeds to repair vehicles for recipients.
“Donations to our organization are 100 percent tax deductible. Free towing is available. Cash donations are welcomed," McRoberts said.
For more information about how to donate to Wheels of Hope, please visit their website at www.wheelshopestl.org