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Car donated to Riverside woman in Thanksgiving spirit

November 16, 2011 12:00:00 AM PST
A Riverside woman has another reason to be thankful this holiday season. A local body shop and AAA gave her the gift of a car to celebrate the spirit of Thanksgiving.

"You hear of stories of people winning the Lotto or hitting the jackpot, I just never thought things like that really could happen in real life," said Nancy Ibarra.

For anyone really, winning a car probably would feel like hitting the jackpot. But for Ibarra, it has perhaps even more meaning because before Wednesday, she didn't even have access to a car, and given how much travel her job requires, reliable transportation is something she desperately needs.

"Some of these distances are far, from Mira Loma to Temecula, even out to Blythe, so this is really going to help me in my new job," said Ibarra.

But as much as this was a day about getting, it was also about giving because the 2009 Toyota Corolla was a gift.

The car was found in a scrap yard and donated by the Auto Club. The engine was OK, but the back end of the car needed a lot of work. And that's where Ben Clymer's The Body Shop helped out.

"As a family in the business for 21 years, this community has always fed us, it has always taken care of us, and so we wanted to do something to give back to them," said Clymer.

Ibarra was one of a number of people who applied for the car giveaway. Applicants had to write an essay for the contest, and Ibarra won.

But Ibarra didn't only get a new car Wednesday, the trunk of the car was filled with food.

"I think we understand that it's not just giving to ourselves, but giving to others. Today represents that at its best, of taking what success and blessings we have and helping someone else out," said Riverside Mayor Ron Loveridge.

And in the spirit of helping someone else out, Ibarra offered her assistance at the end of the event.

"And if anyone needs a ride home or back to the office, come talk to me, I'll gladly take you anywhere you need to go," said Ibarra. "Thank you once again!"

This is the third year now that Community Connect has worked with the city of Riverside, the Auto Club of Southern California and Ben Clymer's The Body Shop.

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