HASTINGS, Neb. — A single mother of two is getting the tools to help her family and career. With a combined effort by the United Way of South Central Nebraska and Hastings Ford Lincoln, she received a car through the "Wheels for Work" program that was started earlier this summer. Their mission is to give cars to families in need.
Barbara Paxton is the second recipient of the program.
She was a woman without much. Paxton was going through tough times.
"I lost all my furniture and everything for the kids when my husband and I split," said Paxton.
She was homeless and even experienced tragedy that no mother should. "I actually lost my oldest in 2016 and found out shortly after her funeral that we were expecting my Amara." Amara is Paxton's second and middle child. She said Amara was an exact image of Alice, the daughter she lost. Paxton lost everything and needed to care for her children. She found Katie Shaw, case manager for Community in Action. Things changed from there.
Shaw explains Paxton was needing help with housing at first. Paxton was able to find housing for her family but when it came to getting around, it was difficult.
"She had support from her family, and they were helping her get to work and her kids to daycare, but we knew over time, that it wasn't going to be a solution," said Shaw. That's when she nominated Paxton for the "Wheels for Work" program.
Jodie Graves is the United Way South Central Nebraska Executive Director who heads the "Wheels for Work" program who said "the United Way saw a need for vehicles. That's often times the barrier for people."
When Paxton was nominated, Shaw said she hit the ground running and found employment at a daycare provider right away. Paxton is striving to succeed in her new career. "I would like to advance my career because working in childcare, one of the requirements was to have a vehicle so I could travel."
United Way and Hastings Ford Lincoln received a car donation from Debra and David Rhodes. "We had the resource and it was the right thing to do," they said. "She is a beautiful woman. Her kids are amazing."
After safety inspections and repairs, car seats were fastened into the car for her two children.
"We're just blessed, we really are truly blessed," Paxton said. "What did I do to deserve this?" She drives home in her new car - a fresh start and freedom to care for her children as she wants and futher her career.
The "Wheels for Work" program is giving people like Paxton hope. The United Way says they can only give away care to those in need when they have donors. This is the second and hope to be able to help more families like Paxton's in the future.