Johnise Peña of Rio Rancho and her sons, 7-year-old James, back, and 9-year-old Johnny, admire the Honda Fit they received Wednesday at Car Crafters. Photo by Argen Marie Duncan

Two families have wheels they couldn’t otherwise afford, thanks to a partnership of local entities.
Two single mothers, Johnise Peña of Rio Rancho and Yolanda Avila of Albuquerque, received restored cars Wednesday at the Car Crafters shop on Veranda Drive.
“Oh, my gosh. It’s beyond amazing,” Avila said of getting her car. “It’s a dream come true, I should say.”
She and her children have been without a car for two years, she said. They’ve faced that situation before, and Avila said it’s always hard.
Car Crafters, Farmers Insurance, Keystone Automotive and 1-800 Charity Cars partnered to repair the previously totaled vehicles through the National Auto Body Council Recycled Rides program. On-The-Spot Detailing cleaned them to new-car shininess.
Nonprofit agency Family Promise of Albuquerque selected Peña and Avila, who are clients.
Car Crafters Marketing Director Kevin Klein said the company has worked through Recycled Rides to donate more than a dozen cars over the last several years. He dubbed the 2016 Kia Optima and 2015 Honda Fit that Avila and Peña, respectively, received “COVID relief cars.”
“These cars will be a great relief to these ladies, and after reading their bios, it’s definitely deserved,” Klein said.
Family Promise Executive Director Laura Combs said the two women are amazing and have worked very hard to stabilize their families.
“I think (getting cars is) going to open new doors for them to reach complete stability,” Combs said.
Peña said she and her two sons, 9-year-old Johnny and 7-year-old James, were blessed and excited to receive the car. They’ve been without one for a few years.
“Walking with two kids and taking the bus and not living in Rio Rancho, it’s been even more difficult,” she said.
She thanked Combs and her own family for their support.
Avila has three children, ages 12-7, who attended the car presentation, plus an adult child.
She said she and her kids were grateful to the car donors, and to Family Promise.
“(Family Promise has) changed my life, and today was even more of a change,” Avila said.

Car Crafters Marketing Director Kevin Klein hands car keys to Yolanda Avila of Albuquerque on Wednesday at the Car Crafters shop on Veranda Drive. Avila and her three pre-teen children received the donated vehicle from Car Crafters, through a partnership among businesses and nonprofits. Photo by Argen Duncan.