OTTAWA — Building on the success of last year’s inaugural giveaway, a local car dealership is again asking for nominations of community members who could use a free automobile this winter.
“No strings attached,” said Justin Scallorn. “We just want to give back to the community, because without it, we don’t have a business.”
Scallorn is the owner of AMCA Motors, a car dealership at 1002 N. Main St., Ottawa. In what is becoming a local tradition, the dealership has plans to give an automobile to a person or family in need within the Ottawa community. Scallorn is asking residents to nominate individuals in need of transportation.
“We’re trying to help someone who has come down on hard times, whether it be health, financial or just flat bad luck — life happens,” Scallorn said. “They can submit nominations to us through Facebook, email, phone call or they can drop off letters if they want. Ideally we’d like to have the nominations in by (December) 18th.”
Residents should include contact information for themselves and their nominee, along with why their nominee is in need of a vehicle. Nominees in the Ottawa/Franklin County region will be given preference, Scallorn said.
“We want the opportunity to hear everyone’s stories so that we can make the best decision on how this vehicle can be the most useful,” Scallorn said. “It’s about an impossible decision to make every year; we wish we could help everybody.”
While getting an automobile in reliable shape for the giveaway, Scallorn’s business asks for donations from other local businesses in the form of parts, food, Christmas gifts or money.
“We tend to get a lot of donations because we don’t ask for a lot — we try to ask a lot of people for a little,” Scallorn said. “Once the car is in good shape, we’ll use any leftover resources to buy Christmas gifts, food and other things for the family. We’ve paid electric bills, multiple months of insurance, sales tax and registration of the vehicle — we want them to be able to put the keys in their car and then go on with their life.”
To Scallorn’s surprise, the fundraising giveaway has had a unifying effect on community commerce.
“We like to see how much we can bring the community together in order to do it,” he said. “We’ve had rival stores that will both donate to the same cause, which is fairly rare. I’ve had Advance Auto Parts donate at the same time O’Reilly Auto Parts is donating. Both Walmart and local grocery stores have donated. It’s pretty cool how everyone can come together to create this project.”