The pioneering National Benevolence Program—launched in 1999—is an annual initiative designed to hand over renovated cars to the less fortunate. The scheme involves partner bodyshops repairing a badly wrecked car (employees donate labor), with suppliers donating parts and Akzo Nobel providing the paint.
The restored vehicles are usually presented to their deserving new owners during the Christmas holiday season, but the case of 39-year-old Washington state resident Jackie Evans was deemed so desperate, that a special effort was made to provide her with a car as soon as possible.
"This was one of those situations we thought couldn't wait for Christmas," explained Kenny Sifferman, manager of the partner collision repair shop in Renton, WA, which carried out the work. So he contacted Akzo Nobel and was given the all clear to proceed with the renovation (the company's Seattle, WA, branch office was involved in the project).
Now Jackie is the proud owner of a fully restored 2000 Ford Escort, which has replaced her unreliable 1985 Cadillac. “I’m speechless,” she said after receiving the keys a special presentation ceremony, which was also attended by her children Micah (2) and Josilyn (11).
"It's hard to find the words to say how much I appreciate this and how lucky I am. I don't like to depend on others to do what I need done. But being a role model for my kids as a single mom is important to me, and when you really need to say yes to something like this, you say it.”
Hundreds of families have benefited from the program since it was launched, with more scheduled to receive vehicles at the end of the year.
"We helped give away 23 cars last year and hope to at leastdouble that this year," said Niki Warnell, services consultant forAkzo Nobel. Added Sifferman: “It shows what we can do when we all work together."
(Released: September 6, 2004)