HILLVIEW - While other moms were buying holiday gifts for their children, Shinika McQuarter had to break the news to her kids that Santa would not come this year.
Raising seven children on a limited income, the 33-year-old single mother could ill afford to buy a Christmas tree, let alone presents.
To make matters worse, McQuarter’s 2004 Chevrolet Suburban, the family’s only mode of transportation, was totalled in a hit and run accident a couple of months ago.
Despite her hardship, McQuarter never lost faith that God would provide as she prayed earnestly for a Christmas miracle.
Little did she know her prayers would soon be answered with help from local residents and businesses led by Glaser’s Collision Center.
Four days before Christmas, McQuarter was invited to Glaser’s Hillview location to pick up her Chevrolet Suburban, which the auto repair shop had completely restored at no charge.
Walking into the shop with her eyes closed, McQuarter had no idea what to expect.
Her mouth dropped as she opened her eyes to see the shiny black SUV that she called her Black Berry.
Having thoroughly inspected the vehicle’s freshly detailed interior and exterior, McQuarter was led to the back of the SUV.
“We have a surprise for you and your family,” said Glaser’s marketing director Heather Glaser.
As Glaser opened the hatch there appeared countless gift packages sitting in the cargo area.
McQuarter’s eyes filled with tears when she was also presented with a food basket and a sum of money that had been donated.
“My prayers have been answered,” she said.
As McQuarter said, such a blessing would not have been possible if it weren’t for those who reached out to help.
As for how this Christmas miracle came to be, it all started several weeks ago when McQuarter was featured on “Pass the Cash with Dawne Gee,” a WAVE TV program that allows viewers to nominate worthy Kentucky families to receive $300 cash.
The story shared McQuarter’s struggle as the disabled single mother of five who took in her sister’s children after she was killed in a domestic violence incident last year.
After watching the story and learning of the hit and run accident that left McQuarter’s SUV totalled, the manager of Glaser’s Audubon Park location, Mark Davidson, called Glaser to see if the company could lend a hand.
Glaser loved the idea.
In recent years the company has restored totalled vehicles for families in need during the holiday season, but as Glaser explained, there was difficulty finding a vehicle.
“When Mark called I thought, this is the perfect opportunity,” Glaser said.
Glaser immediately contacted WAVE 3, which connected her with Dawne Gee, who connected her with McQuarter.
After meeting McQuarter at her Louisville home and inspecting her damaged SUV, Glaser and Davidson called upon Troy’s Wrecker Service, which towed the vehicle to Glaser’s Collision Center in Shepherdsville at no charge.
Glaser said employees donated several hours of their own time working on the SUV after hours.
Within five weeks Glaser’s technicians restored McQuarter’s Black Berry to its former glory with assistance from Gilbert and Mitchell Auto Parts, Grade A Lane Auto Parts, Keystone Automotive, Bob Hook Chevrolet, Accurate Automotive and Ilari Automotive.
Not wanting McQuarter to go any longer without transportation, Hertz loaned McQuarter a rental car while her SUV was being repaired.
Before the SUV was revealed to its owner, Xclusive Detailing made sure McQuarter’s Black Berry looked its best inside and out.
In addition to orchestrating the restoration project with her connections in the automotive industry, Glaser enlisted the help of her fellow Women In Networking members.
When Re/Max realtor Rhonda Roberts heard McQuarter’s story she volunteered to find her a home she could afford in a better neighborhood.
“The fact that she’s raising so many children on her own and her physical struggles made me want to help,” Roberts said. “It touched my heart.”
Incidentally, A-Arnold Moving Company has already offered to move the McQuarters things when they do find a new home.
When Glaser’s co-owner Susan Glaser heard McQuarter’s story her first thought was to act.
“I said there’s no question. We’re going to do this,” she said.
When she learned the McQuarters needs went beyond auto repair, she reached out to as many of her contacts as she could to collect Christmas gifts for McQuarter’s children.
“No kid should wake up on Christmas morning and feel like Santa passed them by,” she said.
Heather Glaser said it didn’t take much persuading to get everyone onboard with the project, adding that all were more than eager to do what they could.
“It kind of gives me faith in this crazy world we live in that people are willing to give their time and money to help someone they’ve never even met,” she said. “It renews my spirit for sure.”
McQuarter concurred, calling everyone’s efforts “priceless.”
“To have people you don’t even know do so much—It’s amazing,” she said. “I’m so thankful.”
McQuarter said that while the last year or so has been anything but easy, she has found a renewed sense of hope in knowing that people care and she thanked God for his promise that all things are possible with faith.
“So many times I just wanted to give up, but I keep telling myself that better things will come, that God has a divine plan,” she said. “I’ve come a long way and I’m not taking anything for granted.”
McQuarter said the kindness she’s been shown has inspired her to make a difference in the lives of others and do all that she can to help those in need.
“It was a blessing (God) heard my prayers,” she said. “I know he has more in store for me if I just believe.”