Tampa, Florida -- The mission of Metropolitan Ministries is giving families the support they need to get back on their feet.
But they have two families who've created so much success, the group is going beyond getting them on their feet -- they're getting them on some wheels.
Santa is handing them out, but they're not really a "gift." These two families have earned these keys -- and this moment -- by turning around their lives.
All of them were at one point jobless, homeless, and almost hopeless.
Jessica Gray is now a dental assistant after training arranged by Metropolitan Ministries. But it takes her three buses to get to work and back.
No more. Now, with a car, she'll be home in time to get her 3-year-old son the specialized medical care he needs.
"It's going to mean a long road of success in my journey that I've done so far," Gray said before climbing into her 2010 Honda Civic.
"I'm just so happy! Oh my goodness. Oh my goodness."
After living in Metropolitan Ministries' MiraclePlace family housing and getting job placement assistance from the organization, Nelson Ferrer now has a restaurant job.
But if he misses the last bus while working late, it's a six-mile walk home in the dark.
"It's like a dream! It's like a dream!" his girlfriend Selina Andujar said, smiling in disbelief after she walked up and touched their 2006 Toyota RAV4.
"We can provide all of the education we possibly can, the life skills to help a family get back on their feet, but to get a job you need transportation," Metropolitan Ministries President Tim Marks said.
"Transportation is a critical link in the success factor."
With support from Allstate, an army of elves from Sterling Autobody made these miracles out of cars that had been considered "totaled."
With some love and hard work, they've been given a new future -- just like the families who will drive them.
Giving away cars, of course, is only a fraction of what Metropolitan Ministries does in their huge holiday tent just north of Downtown Tampa.
The group says it's serving 1,000 more clients this year than last year. They're particularly in need of donations of toys, especially for teens and infants.
If you want to contribute, click here to visit the Metropolitan Ministries website.
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