Car giveaway brings Christmas cheer to local families

WICHITA, Kan. A Wichita business stepped up to give families-in-need new sets of wheels for Christmas.

Auto Craft Collision Repair participated in its annual car giveaways event. Jaden Randle, Auto Craft's director of marketing and sales, says the business refurbished two cars with donations for parts. He says the body shop's employees donated labor as part of the effort.

"A lot of the community came together, giving away gas cards, insurance, gift cards for kids. So we really got a great Christmas for two deserving recipients," Randle says.

He says the most recent car giveaway is the business's 20th overall as "part of (an annual) benevolence give-back program to the community."

This year, Maronda Blankenship was one of those chosen for a new car from Auto Craft Collision Repair. It began when her daughter wrote a letter that discussed the family's need.

"We were having car troubles that week and I decided to write a letter and send it out to many people. And I was hoping just for someone to be able to help us fix our car," Blankenship's daughter, Shelby Fuqua says. "My mom is my best friend and I just know she works really hard to try to keep me and my brothers happy, so I knew she deserved it."

Blankenship says the family had an old Ford Taurus on its last leg.

"I have used our Christmas money to try to get things fixed. I have worked on it all summer, trying to put new parts on it and it just isn't going to work anymore for me," she says. "So this is a huge blessing to receive this car."

When she learned she won a new car, Blankenship says her family was surprised and excited.

"At first, we jumped up and down in our living room," she says. "Then we cried and we hugged, and then we were just in shock for the rest of the evening..."

Randle says Auto Craft went through "a pretty big process of a lot of people who needed a car."

He says the stories of Blankenship and the second winner fit well with what the giveaway, and the holiday season are all about.

"It's the best part of the year," Randle says. "We love to give back."