The car donation program at St. Vincent de Paul of Contra Costa County is one way our donors are able to transform the life of a family in need. On Monday, April 18th, one donor did exactly that for Security Guard Ashli Sheppard and her 8-year-old son.
“I’m just so grateful and so excited,” Ashli said. “I’ve just been so worried and anxious for so long now, but this car is going to change my life. Miracles really do happen. I heard about the car donation program and so I wrote SVdP a letter and then just prayed, and my prayer was answered!”
Ashli said the car she received through SVdP will transform her life. She said having a car again will greatly reduce her stress and anxiety, as she has been scared of bringing illness home to her son during the pandemic.
“Riding public transit to go work as a security guard in a busy city during the pandemic was stressful,” Ashli said. “I was constantly scared I was going to bring this disease home to my son, and worrying about what would happen to him if I got sick. Thanks to this car, I’ll finally be able to relax knowing we’re safer.”
Ashli has been living without a car for four years. Ashli had her car repossessed four years ago, after losing her job and thus the only income providing for her son. Though she was able to find a new job working as a security guard, Ashli said the financial constraints of commuting from Pittsburg to Emeryville for work while trying to provide for her son made it impossible for her to save up. So, for four years, Ashli has hopped on BART and a bus to get to her swing-shift security job in Emeryville from Pittsburg.
“In a way, my shift turned out to be a bit of a blessing during the pandemic,” Ashli said. “When the schools shut down, my shift allowed me to be home with my son during school hours while he was going through distance learning because of the school closures.”
Ashli said that although it was nice to be able to be there for her son while he was going through the changes forced upon children during the COVID-19 pandemic, she also said it was exhausting. She said she would get home around 2 or 3 am from work only to have to get her son ready for his school day.
Ashli’s relationship with SVdP began over a decade ago. When Ashli was younger, she and her mother were homeless for a period of a time, and Ashli said SVdP volunteers helped her mother afford the deposit she needed to get their family off the street.
“SVdP helped my mother and I get off the street, I’ve always been grateful for that, so to have them also help me get a car is just amazing. It really is a miracle,” Ashli said. “After helping my mom, there were times where we went and received food from SVdP as well, they’ve just been a huge help throughout my life, I’m extremely grateful to have such generous people in my life.”
The Car Donation Program at St. Vincent de Paul of Contra Costa County connects unneeded or unwanted cars donated by generous people to families and people who need them most. If you have a vehicle you would like to donate, please call SVdP’s Transportation Manager Bonnie Casey at (925)439-5060 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.