Formerly homeless single mother Lucy Melgar receives a new car. Photo: Family Promises of Berks County/Facebook.
A single mom working three different jobs to support her 8-year-old son was awarded a very special and much-needed gift: A new car.
Lucy Melgar of Reading, Pennsylvania received the 2011 Hyundai Sonata on Tuesday through Family Promises of Berks County, an organization that provides temporary assistance to homeless families. “It’s so pretty!” Melgar told Pennsylvania local news station WFMZ. “I wanted to cry very hard. It means the world to me.”
The car will make life much easier for Melgar, who endured a rocky path before entering Family Promises. “I was in a domestic violence situation and I couldn’t hold a job,” she said. “I went to different places, different states and I tried over and over again.”
In January, the mother graduated from the organization’s 90-day program which provides housing, education training, jobs, meals, and transportation for homeless families. The program also helps prep families for the future by requiring them to save 75 percent of their income for permanent housing once they leave the program.
Family Promises of Berks County worked with the not-for-profit organization National Auto Body Council’s “Recycled Rides” program which fully refurbished the vehicle with the help of companies such as GEICO, RW Mallon and Faulkner. “We nominated Lucy to win the car because we were so impressed by her determination and positive attitude,” Summer Gaskin, network director at Family Promise of Berks County, tells Yahoo Parenting.
Each morning, Melgar wakes up at 5 a.m. to get herself and her son ready for the day. She has to be at her customer service job at 7:00 a.m., so she drops her son at a pre-school daycare beforehand. From there, he boards a bus to school. After finishing her first job, Melgar walks or takes a cab back to Family Promises where all members are required to pitch in with home maintenance (mopping, vacuuming, dusting), then takes a bus or walks to her second job, which often ends at 9 p.m. She and her son return home around 11 p.m., eat dinner, and go to sleep. After graduating from Family Promises, Melgar landed a third job, also in customer service. Yahoo Parenting could not reach Melgar for comment due to her work schedule and Gaskin could not reveal personal information about Melgar for privacy reasons.
“Lucy never complained about her schedule — she just did what was necessary,” says Gaskin. Melgar’s dream is to become a certified nursing assistant (CNA) and now that she has a car, she’s hoping to streamline her life by getting one job so she can attend night school.
But the best part about receiving the car: Watching the look on Melgar’s son’s face. She plans to surprise him with the news on Friday after the car undergoes one final inspection. “He’s been praying for a car,” she said. “Like, really praying for a car. He’s gonna be so happy.”