Working wheels for working families: Hand-up, not hand-out

Karen Ray with Camry 11.30.17

None of this could be accomplished without the community’s help. The Working Wheel board with eight members meets every two months and includes two Asheville City Council members Gwen Wisler and Julie Mayfield. The Community Foundation of Western North Carolina, Cathedral of All Souls, Grace Covenant Presbyterian Church, and First Presbyterian Church are just a few of the foundations and churches that contribute as sponsors.

The organization just got a $20,000 grant from the People in Need, and the Asheville Merchants Fund has given a two year grant of $20,000 each year. There are Partner Mechanics who donate a great deal of time and energy to fix the cars at a discounted rate, such as Organic Mechanic, Precision International, and Fletcher Car Care. As Charley Wilson of The Organic Mechanic said, “donating time and repair labor to Working Wheels allows our company to make a direct impact on the lives of community members who struggle to hold a job without a reliable way to get there.” There is no doubt about it, this is a collaborative effort to help those who desperately need a helping hand.

Undoubtedly, the donation of a car is of paramount importance to the whole enterprise. The cars are donated by individuals or businesses for a variety of reasons. Working Wheels accepts vehicles of any age, type, and quality level. All contribute to the success of their mission Working Wheels tries to let the public know that their donation may get them a retail, not wholesale, tax deduction. They advertise locally and on the radio to encourage donors, so they can provide transportation to somebody in our community at a low cost.

Over the last three years sixty-five cars have left the shop and now belong to clients. They plan to repair and recycle 50 more in 2018. This is a giant step forward to independence for many individuals in the community.

Working Wheels wants to help those who have been hit with some unforeseen circumstances. It strives to help improve the lives and offer more independence to those in need. They take donated cars, make needed repairs, and recycle these automobiles. Then individuals, who are referred to them from agencies, such as Helpmate, Habitat for Humanity, Our Voice, or Homeward Bound. purchase these recycled cars. For those seeking a car for more specifics and information look at the website, or call the office at (828) 633-6888.

Some of their clients are currently traveling on public transportation for four or five hours a day, to and from work and undoubtedly are struggling to make ends meet. As Jamie Beasley said,” I love the combination of a really good cause that has some qualities of a social enterprise. It enables people to be self sufficient, to be independent. The fact that this is a collaborative effort with so many people and agencies supporting it is important to me too.” Beasley lived in Guatemala a year or so and is thus aware of many of the problems the Hispanic population face in coming to the United States. He became a Spanish teacher and worked for Mountain BizWorks, before he took on the task of finding cars for Working Wheels. The non-profit business has just moved in December from Sardis Road to 78/80 Weaverville Road, Woodfin, where Red’s Service Center used to be. Red will continue to run his wrecker service next door. The new Working Wheels office is in the process of being built. The phone number is 828 633-6888. Do call if you have a car to donate or any other questions.

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