Van donation changes lives
When Rob and Natalie Francis volunteered with their parish, Our Lady’s Immaculate Heart, they weren’t expecting to be so emotionally moved that they’d give away their car. But that’s exactly what they did.
Working alongside others in their congregation to help host Family Promise of Greater Des Moines guest families for a week, Rob and his wife came to realize how much they took their own blessings for granted.
“It can be very humbling to see how we can help others, and it makes you appreciate everything you have that much more,” Rob said. After volunteering, the couple decided to donate a van they no longer needed to FPGD. “We think Family Promise is an extremely important ministry, and we hoped they might have a family that could get some use out of our old car.”
When the couple arrived at FPGD to hand over the keys to the van, they were surprised and touched to discover the family receiving the vehicle were guests they had helped while volunteering just a few weeks prior.
“Having just hosted the family that needed the van, and getting to know them on a personal level, made donating the car so much more gratifying,” said Natalie. “We could see the impact directly affecting a family in need. We got to see first-hand the joy it brought to the entire family.”
For FPGD guests John and Mary, the van was instrumental to helping their family successfully leave the program. The couple and their three kids, a daughter age 7, and two boys ages 13 and 14, came to FPGD when John needed employment. He was very motivated and found temporary employment within a week at FPGD, and he was hoping it would become permanent. After working six days a week for a month, the family’s van wouldn’t start, and the repair costs were more than they could afford.
And that’s when the Francis family showed up with a new van – coincidentally, the same type of van John and Mary previously owned. The van provided John and his family with reliable transportation, and he has earned permanent employment with the company, including great benefits.
Rob says his family’s involvement with FPGD has been one of the most rewarding experiences of their lives. “Not only do we get to help Family Promise families, but it has been a great way to witness to God’s call for mercy, charity and love of neighbor throughout our parish,” he added. “We have developed many new relationships with other families at Our Lady’s Immaculate Heart in the process, and it has exposed us to many more people that we didn’t realize were doing so much in our parish to help others in need.”
Thank you to Natalie and Rob Francis for their generous hearts and donations. Please remember gifts like cars, furniture and other items may also bless families in need in addition to financial donation. Feel free to contact our office to find out what families may need!