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Sunday, January 23, 2022

Local Men to Give Cars to Families in Need During Christmas

Stephen Green and Damond Horne founded a nonprofit called Cars With Care to provide wheels for families in need, during the holiday season. By day, Green specializes in automotive reconditioning in his Essex, Maryland based business, Paintless Dent Doctor. Horne established a similar business called Total Recon Automotive Reconditioning in Laurel. The giving men committed to combining their expertise to spread cheer to a family lacking the means to acquire transportation, along with members of their team, through their annual Cars With Care Christmas Car Giveaway.

   “Well, I always wanted to find a way to give back, and I figured the easiest way to do that is to use my talents from my everyday profession. So my parents were big givers. They were actually pastors, and I always saw them take the initiative to help the community in any capacity they could, so it’s kind of a natural thing for me to find a space where I could lend a hand,” Green said. “I just really had a conversation with Damond (Horne) who also owns a reconditioning company down at Laurel. We founded Cars With Care, so that we could just kind of organically use our talents to give back to someone in need. So that was kind of the conversation that we had to start it (the nonprofit).”

   Green grew up in Baltimore City, some of the time without a vehicle. He knows what it is like relying on buses, observing others face challenges of pursuing employment beyond the community, and parents juggling the management of school transportation when needed. In 2016, Green and Horne crafted a plan to assist others who found themselves in similar situations. They now recondition a car each year to ensure that they were mechanically and cosmetically sound, when a new owner was presented with the gift of owning transportation on Christmas Day. A total of six cars will have been given away by the end of this year. 

   In prior times, all vehicles were purchased. Green explained that this year marks the first time that a car was donated for reconditioning. This will enable one of the gifts to be presented to a Baltimore resident, and the second to a winner from the Laurel or District of Columbia area. Entries can be submitted from Baltimore, Laurel and Washington, D.C.-based individuals. Participants must also answer questions about their vehicle needs, and share their story, as a part of the selection process. Except for one selected male recipient, previous car winners were single mothers.

   Green and Horne’s vision is timely. In addition to common financial barriers associated with repairing or buying a vehicle, CNN Business reported https://www.cnn.com/2021/09/24/tech/chip-shortage-car-prices-raimondo/index.html  that a computer microchip shortage has greatly impacted used and new car prices and availability during the pandemic. Since selections resulted in slimmer inventory offered by various dealerships and personal sellers, buying a car has become more costly and difficult.

    “We know that transportation is something that’s not afforded to everyone, and having it gives you opportunities beyond your immediate neighborhood, which can be huge for someone’s development and life,” Green said.

   Four proactive men make the car giveaway possible. Except for Horne, Green, Eric Randle, and Michael Foy reside in Baltimore. However, Horne is a Morgan State University alumnus, so each benevolent leader has ties to Charm City. He added family, friends, and others have provided positive feedback and encouraging words to them. 

Sponsors and other supporters are stepping up to invest in Christmas blessings provided by the nonprofit. Cars With Care’s 5th Year Celebration and Fundraising Gala will be held on December 19, 2021 in Randallstown, Md. Raised funds will be allocated for expenses related to vehicle acquisition, car reconditioning, and vehicle-related financial assistance for selected families, according to information provided on the nonprofit’s website.

 “I believe we’ve had a huge impact on the families who received our past vehicles by relieving them of the burden of worrying about getting from A to B,” Horne said. “Honestly, I can’t describe how it makes me feel.  But, knowing that we change a families’ life every Christmas is like winning the lottery.” 

This year’s deadline for submitting entries to win a car is December 17, 2021. Entrants can be nominated. Visit http://carswithcare.com/entries to read a complete list of rules and entry details. Learn more about Cars With Care by visiting http://carswithcare.com/.

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