Alvin Dvorak likes to call the Wheels for Work program, “not a hand out, but a hand up.”
For five years, Dvorak Motors has partnered with CCO Inc. on the program to provide vehicles to those who need one to get to work but can’t afford it.
“The more people we can help be employed is a win for our community,” said CCO Executive Director Sarah Carlson.
Carlson said 80 percent of those the organization helps are single moms, whose biggest needs are transportation and childcare. Those who receive donations are referred by groups, such as AARC, Community Options and North Dakota Job Service.
One woman who received a vehicle three years ago while trying to support her 18-month-old child was able to go back to school and is now preparing to graduate from Bismarck State College, Carlson said.
“She’s someone now who is going to make it,” Carlson said. “She’s truly a success story and she’s just one example.”
If the trade-in value on a vehicle is low, Dvorak encourages his customers throughout the year to donate the vehicle, instead, he said. The dealership gives $1,000 for the trade in, and come tax season, the customer can write off the fair market value of the vehicle.
“It’s a way to give back to the community,” Dvorak said. “It gets a little emotional but justifiably so.”
If a donated vehicle isn’t reliable enough or needs too much work, Dvorak Motors takes it to salvage and donates the proceeds to Wheels for Work to cover the cost of vehicle maintenance on other donated cars.
Wheels for Work is always in need of vehicles. The organization has had to stop taking applications from those seeking cars because there aren’t enough to go around, Carlson said.
Dvorak said this shows the need the program fills since there are more people than cars available.
Carlson said, to receive a vehicle, participants also have to show they are making “positive changes” and can afford to put gas in the car and pay for insurance.
Over the program’s five-year history, Dvorak has donated more than 75 vehicles, including seven or eight in November.