At United Way of Story County (UWSC), we believe that when we are United together, we can find solutions that make long-lasting, positive change in the lives of individuals and families, which is why our 2018 LIVE UNITED Campaign theme is “In order to live better, we must LIVE UNITED.” Because when we LIVE UNITED, everyone wins.


United Way fights for the health, education and financial stability of everyone in our community. This month we are focusing on how donations to UWSC ensure that all individuals and families will achieve financial stability. This week we’ll take a closer look at one of our internal programs, Wheels for Work.


In partnership with Ames Ford Lincoln, the Wheels for Work program began in Story County in 2015, offering families in need of a reliable car to get them to and from work.


Open to Story County individuals who are 150 percent below the federal poverty level, this program runs on community members donating a running vehicle to someone who doesn’t have one of their own.


Only in our third year, we have been able to provide over 30 families with a reliable vehicle to get them where they need to go.


As our partner, Ames Ford Lincoln accepts donated vehicles, provides a safety inspection and does any repair work needed to ensure the security of the car. Families then work with one of the participating agencies to apply for the program. If they meet the requirements and a car is available, families who qualify will get to drive off in a new-to-them car, paying only one dollar to obtain the title themselves after one calendar year. The family also needs to cover the cost of the registration and taxes, must have a good driving record and must have proof of auto insurance. Donations to UWSC help cover the cost of parts and discounted labor.


These cars are not the biggest, newest, or brightest vehicles on the road, but to a family that has had to load three children onto a bus to get across town just so a child can visit their doctor when they are sick, these cars are a diamond in the rough. They allow them to move from instability to stability in more aspects than just financially.


Giving a family a car provides much more than just transportation. It can be the difference between a better job across town that was not an option before, access to more affordable groceries, better availability for employment and educational opportunities for children.


These are the stories we have heard from families that have been given a car through Wheels for Work. Building financial stability in our community is more than making sure everyone has a bank account, and knows how to spend and save their money.


It is important that we look at all aspects of financial stability when working to improve the lives of those around us. Wheels for Work is a program that can lift a family up from barely getting by to advancing and succeeding. Your UWSC donations, both financial and physical, are changing lives for the better in more ways than you know. Let’s all get behind the fight for the health, education and financial stability for all. Because in order to live better, we must LIVE UNITED.


For more statistics and stories on how the impact of Wheels for Work has affected our community, visit our Wheels for Work page under financial stability on our website.