Cars 4 Heroes

More About Cars4Christmas

Cars 4 Christmas is a not for profit that provides free basic transportation to disadvantaged individuals.

The Need

More than one third of America’s population lives outside of urbanized areas. Nearly 40 percent of the country’s transit dependent population-primarily senior citizens, persons with disabilities and low income individuals- resides in rural areas. Yet in many of these communities, public and community transportation are limited or absent.The growth in the U.S. economy has created many new jobs. Two of three are located in suburban areas and, in some cities, more than 50 percent of these jobs are outside the range of public transportation. For millions of Americans, the availability of community and public transportation is the determining factor in their ability to access the health care system to necessary medical care. Whether trying to reach life sustaining dialysis treatments or ensuring a healthy future for a child with routine screenings . people must have a way to get to their medical appointments.

How/Why did their organization begin?
Cars 4 Christmas was started to provide free basic transportation to less fortunate individuals and families who are not able to obtain it on their own in any other way. Today’s world demands that the average individual have personal transportation. This has inarguably been the case across the US for several decades as Americans have based important family, career and overall life decisions and activities on the ability to transport themselves. Just as the average company cannot function properly without the use of computer technology, neither can the average individual function without the use of an automobile. Over the years until 1996 that Cars 4 Christmas Founder, Terry Franz had been in the automotive industry, he had helped to create various specialized and innovative lending plans to make sure many individuals could obtain a car, when it was not otherwise possible. Many of the people Terry helped had poor credit or lower incomes not because they were irresponsible, but because they were living through life-altering situations such as a seriously ill child at home. In such cases, conventional employment was not possible in order that parents could care for their child. Terry would often see illness, disability or serious family matters preventing people from being able to purchase even a basic used car. Many other very legitimate cases came across Terry’s desk over the years where he simply could not help an individual to obtain basic and reliable transportation. Then in 1996, Terry decided to act on an idea he had. If there’s no way for a needy person to buy a car, maybe we can find a way to give him one. Seeing that there was no organization focusing on this need, Terry did some basic research and discovered that through various shelters and government organizations, people might find a job, home or food, but they could not remedy a lack of transportation, especially in areas with little or no public transportation. Believing that most people aren’t looking for someone to take care of them, Franz felt, “A lot of these people can help themselves if they can get from point A to point B.” Learning that local food pantry’s were supported by the food industry and that Habitat For Humanity was supported by building supply companies Terry thought the automotive industry would be willing to support a community effort to provide people with basic transportation needs if someone would organize it. Terry has since created a network amongst the automotive industry, many local individuals and media to supply hundreds of vehicles to some very deserving people and families.

Who do they serve and why?
Everyday, people’s lives are turned upside down by unexpected tragedies, illnesses and other serious circumstances that cannot be controlled. The effects of such situations can be staggering and often go unappreciated by the vast majority of society which, in the “present” moment is not experiencing life, job and family-changing events. That is not to say that society is unwilling to help less fortunate individuals and families, but rather we pinpoint the fact that the average person usually cannot imagine the reality of sudden life altering changes until they actually happen. Perhaps a month ago or a year ago someone lived in a home, owned one or more cars and worked at a great career. A sudden illness, natural disaster, disability or death in the family occurs and quickly impacts the “status quo” leaving the individual in a place that is in no way comparable to their recent quality of life. They are not even able to buy a car. Cars 4 Christmas is there to soften the often harsh blows that life’s realities can deal. The following includes excerpts of a letter sent to us. It serves as an example of the many communications we have received and more importantly, the kinds of people who receive the gift of transportation from their organization.

I am the Team Leader for the 7 East oncology unit at The Cancer Institute located within Research Medical Center. I have a 19 year old girl that (sic) was diagnosed with Acute Mylegenous Leukemia this fall… She was going to college when she was diagnosed with cancer. Her parents have come from Samoa to see her through transplant. Her family has limited funds. We have arranged for lodging at the hope lodge…I listed her address at the hospital, because this is it until she has recovered from her chemo. Her parents are staying here also….her transplant program…requires her to have transportation, which she does not have. The hope lodge cannot guarantee any transportation. Our unit has adopted them for Christmas…Unfortunately we cannot give them the one thing they really need, a car…this particular situation has touched us all in a way that is indescribable. They have no family here to help them with this emotional and financial stress. This patient is in a battle to survive. Having adequate transportation to get her to her appointments and treatments would be extremely helpful. Please help if you can. Sincerely, Team Leader 7East

The Cancer Institute Meyer Campus 2316 E Meyer Blvd Kansas City, Mo. 64132


1801 SW Market St
Lee’s Summit, MO 64082