Bay Area nonprofit surprises 10 families in need with cars this holiday season

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Saturday, December 16, 2023
Bay Area nonprofit surprises 10 families with cars in need
Surprise! Ten Sonoma County families were gifted cars by the local nonprofit Crozat Family Foundation.

SANTA ROSA, Calif. (KGO) -- Ten Sonoma County families were gifted cars by a local nonprofit that has been giving back to the community for a decade.

A group of applicants were asked to show up to the Sonoma County Fairgrounds to what they thought would be the the last interview to potentially get one of the four cars being donated.

One of the applicants was Blanca Sanchez with her two kids.

"I tell them if we get it. If we don't, it's okay. We've made it this far and we made it to the second interview so that's how I see it," said Sanchez.

Blanca is a single mom who lives paycheck to paycheck.

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"I work at a local school in Windsor and I've been trying my best to get them where they need to be and have them be stable, that is my goal," said Sanchez.

Ali McGillicuddy is also a single mom. Her vehicle was damaged in a car accident in September. She has been in need of a functioning car for months.

"So I can get to my two jobs, and I get to my kids schools and day care. Bring them to their doctors' appointments," said McGillicuddy.

Nancy Carter was nominated by her friend Michelle.

"I pay my rent and I pay for my daughter's tuition, those are the most important things. A car is important and my daughter's educations is more important as far as money goes. So she had to come first and I gave up my car," said Carter.

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Everyone was hoping to drive a car home but with only four cars in sight, not everyone would be selected.

"I'm hoping for whatever God wants. That is what my brain is telling me right now," said Sanchez.

Every year, the Crozat Family Foundation receives letters from Sonoma County residents in need of a car. In the last decade, they've donated over 200 cars, choosing who to give them too is hard.

"Demographics that state funding goes to help with food stamps or cash aid or even the county. So we are looking for people who make $300 to $400 over the mark to receive those services," said Carlynn Tocchini, director of the Crozat Family Foundation.

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As the group waited to see who would be the lucky four to get a car, they were all surprised to learn that all of them would end up driving a car home.

"Gosh this is huge! This is amazing. I can't believe we got a new car this is amazing. I feel so blessed," said Sanchez.

The majority of these cars were donated by Allstate Insurance and refurbished by the team at G&C Auto Body. For Shawn Crozat, Friday's gifts were personal. His dad started the foundation.

"I think about that a lot. It's been 10 years. Seven years since he passed away ago, this Thanksgiving. I think often of what he would think we've done with the foundation and his legacy. The business. I hope he'll be proud," said Shawn Crozat, CEO of G&C Auto Body.

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