CLINTON, Iowa-- A single mother of two has been trudging through the snow with a stroller to get where she needs to go. But thanks to a special surprise, she won't have to walk or rely on public transportation to get around.
Lisa Dominguez recently moved back to the United States after living overseas. She arrived in Clinton seven months ago, a place the woman from the East Coast had never seen before.
"The past seven months have been really hard for me and my kids since I came back to the United States," she says. "Due to some issues, I became a single mother and came into a homeless shelter."
By working with local agencies, Dominguez was able to get a roof of her own over her head. But there's been one roadblock in her way: a job. Without a car, it's hard to get to job interviews and make connections.
Kim Osmussen helped Dominguez with her move to Clinton, coordinating childcare and housing.
"Right away there was a little spark over the phone that said she was going to go places," says Kim Osmussen, center manager at Clinton Head Start.
So Osmussen decided to help Dominguez overcome one more roadblock. She nominated her for the Salvation Army "Cruisin with Care" car giveaway.
On Thursday, Nov. 13, Osmussen told Dominguez they were going to go grocery shopping at the Hy-Vee on S 4th Street. But what awaited them was a group from the Salvation Army and a red, Ford sedan from Thiel Motors.
"Just watching her face was worth it all," Osmussen says. "I knew in her mind, this was the one piece that was going to help her get where she needs to go."
Dominguez could barely keep back tears as she took the keys.
"Is this real? Is this true?" she says. "This is a miracle. This is definitely a miracle... I was just losing hope. Like, 'Lord. What am I going to do?'"
Dominguez says she can now take her kids to special places and give them better opportunities. She says it'll also be easier to get to job interviews and to work once she lands one.
"Words can't even describe... all my needs have been met," she says. "Freedom. It gives me freedom. It gives me opportunities to give my kids."
Area businesses also helped fill the trunk of her new car with groceries. Dominguez got two new car seats for her sons and gift cards for gas, food and oil changes.
This is the second year the Salvation Army has done the "Cruisin' with Care" giveaway.