Raleigh, N.C. — Raleigh charity Wheels 4 Hope gave away 13 recycled cars to people in need during a special event in downtown's Moore Square on Tuesday.
John Bush, executive director of Wheels 4 Hope, said cars are about more than transportation – they give people freedom, responsibility and adventure.
"A car in this environment is everything," Bush said. "If you don't have a car, you're nobody. A car gives you hope."
Tuesday's event was a celebration of the charity's 13 years of repairing hundreds of donated cars and giving them to people who need a jump start.
"For the last five years, my life has been riddled with drugs and alcohol," said car recipient Mike Edge, who hasn't owned a vehicle in half a decade.
Edge made a U-turn away from substance abuse, earning himself a red 1997 Toyota Camry from Wheels 4 Hope.
"To be able to open a car door, put my family in it and drive away safe, that's amazing," he said.
Bush said owning a car can be life-changing.
"It really changes your life and your attitude," he said.
For Edge, the car keys start more than a V6 engine, they are a start to a new life.
"We've gone from a homeless shelter to a garage to an apartment to having this vehicle. It's an amazing experience," he said. "Now I'm just like any other American. We just needed a little boost and hope."