If you’re like most of Nebraska, when you got up this morning, you got dressed, got some coffee, got the kids up, and headed out the door to work or school or daycare or the grocery store or MOPS or a thousand other places. You worked a full day, drove to each stop on your day’s to-do list, and drove home.

Now try to do all that, only take the car out of it.

Unless you own a jetpack or are secretly a hobbit, you’ve experienced the importance of having a car in our community. Try as we might, public transit is not frequently used, and with our cities so spread out, simply walking to work isn’t an option for many of our neighbors. A reliable method of transportation, then, is largely a requirement for steady, reliable employment.

And that’s where Chariots4Hope steps in.

Credit: Chariots4Hope.org

Chariots4Hope is a local, Omaha-based and Omaha-founded organization that helps provide transportation for low-income families in our own community. Founded just four years ago by Jason and Michelle Hurt, Chariots4Hope has worked toward its vision of removing the transportation barrier for responsible individuals in our low-income communities by providing cars, as well as “afterCARe” services, to help those families reach and maintain self-sufficiency.

Chariots4Hope restores donated cars, and awards them at affordable prices to eligible families referred by one of several accredited nonprofit referring organizations (like the Open Door Mission, Bethlehem House, Bellevue Housing Agency, City Lights, and others). To qualify, families must have verifiable employment or a job offer; a driver’s license and proof of insurance; the ability to cover registration, tax, and titling fees; a budget verifying they can afford the cost of car ownership; and no other car in the household. To help maintain the car after it is awarded, families must agree to participate in AfterCARe classes that cover topics including both vehicle maintenance and budgeting.

Credit: Chariots4Hope.org

This ministry is a
much-needed one for the community, as evidenced by the average 6-8 week waiting period for families following the AfterCARE classes are completed before the car can be awarded! An estimated 70% of entry-level jobs in Omaha are unreachable by public transit, and of all Omaha jobs that are reachable, 40% would require a 90-minute commute. However, an estimated 21,000 low-income families in Omaha do not have a vehicle.

But Chariots4Hope is taking on the elephant one bite at a time. Thanks to their efforts, 40 families have been awarded a vehicle — and of those, 85% were able to secure and maintain a job because they had a vehicle.

Credit: Chariots4Hope.org

White Castle Roofing was so blown away by this amazing organization, we were happy to add them as a partner for our monthly
Grand Giveaway community initiative. As part of this initiative, each month of the primary roofing season (April-November, plus an additional “winter” period including the remaining months), we draw three customers at random who have paid in full by the month’s deadline to receive a $500 rebate on their roof, and choose a charity from our list of partners to receive an additional $500.

We are also pleased to support Chariots4Hope in their annual golf tournament next week! We’ve joined on as a sponsor, and invite our business colleagues to join us on the course, whether as a participant or sponsor. Not a golfer but want to help? You can do that through donations of cars (working or non-working!), financial donations, or your time as a volunteer…

…and on your way there, give thanks for your car.