Two Tucson residents struggling to make ends meet were each given the keys to a newly refurbished vehicle in a surprise presentation Thursday as part of Caliber Collision’s Recycled Rides program.
Each year, Tucsonans are invited to nominate people to receive cars through the program, and the recipients are chosen by a review committee.
This year’s recipients are:
Lorraine Aguirre, who took on the role of mother at the age of 16 by taking care of her younger brother when her mom died of cancer. Their father died unexpectedly two years ago. Aguirre took on full guardianship of her brother. She found a job at the Gadabout Salon & Spa call center on the north side of town, but she lives on the south side, and has trouble getting to work. With help from her aunt, she has been able to get to and from work or to a nearby bus route.
Ibraham Ali, who arrived in Tucson with his wife and five children in November 2013 after living in a refugee camp in Kenya for 15 years. Ali immediately enrolled his family in English classes and found a part-time job at Whole Foods. His bus route has been more than an hour long and he has had to walk an additional 30 minutes to get home. He wants to find a second job to earn more money but has found it difficult without reliable transportation.
The vehicles were donated by Geico and refurbished by Caliber Collision associates who volunteered their time to repair them.
Other local businesses and organizations in the community contributed to the program by donating gift items for the recipient families, and Geico’s Ride Kids Safe program donated car seats.