Operation Liberty Hill donates van to family in need

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By Dana Delgado

It was much more than a special moment for Sabrina Arnold when she received the keys and title to a van from Operation Liberty Hill.

The vehicle, donated to OLH by a Liberty Hill resident who asked to remain anonymous, was the answer to Arnold’s prayers.

“I can’t believe it,” said Arnold with a big smile and grateful tears. “I’ve been praying and believing it for seven months, but didn’t see it happening.”

As a single mother of five children ranging in ages from 3 weeks to 11 years and no other family in the area, Arnold knew that she could no longer transport them all in her small compact car with the birth of her fifth child.

“We kind of accepted that we would be making two trips,” she said.

Arnold said her oldest son said he was prepared to “‘be stuck at home’. Now, he’s not going to get left at home,” Arnold said. “It’s nice to see that people have a heart. You can never give up hope, I told my dad. God always provides at the last moment.”

The anonymous donor, a Liberty Hill resident since 1982, delivered the vehicle to OLH on June 13, the same day the van was presented to Arnold. The arrangements had been in the works for weeks since the need and donation were matched.

The donor said the 2005 Kia Sedona van had been the family vehicle.

“We were going to get another vehicle anyway, but we wanted to help someone else out,” she said. “People in the community have surrounded me with love over the years and we wanted to pay it forward.”

Besides the Kia van, which can accommodate six passengers, the donation also included financial support for the registration and basic repairs that might be necessary, and a current tire warranty.

For a while, Arnold believed she would inherit her grandfather’s van when he passed away but the family could not find the title. That plan went awry shortly afterwards when it was decided that she was not going to receive the vehicle.

So concerned about what she was going to do with the family’s new addition, Arnold and prayer friends from her church, Grace Alive, began a writing campaign to Ellen Degeneres, daytime television host who assists individuals and families in need.

“I kept hoping that the next knock on my door would be someone from the Ellen Show with a car giveaway,” she said. “It’s been hard but we’ve been trying to make the most of every day. For most of my pregnancy, I was working three to four jobs just to cover the bills.”

Arnold said her skills and interests lie in being a caretaker but felt relieved to have her needs of a bigger vehicle met.

Arnold became aware of OLH in 2017 through her church members and soon was not only shopping the thrift store and getting assistance but donating her children’s clothes as they outgrew them. Over time, she and Vicky McCown, OLH Special Services Manager, became close, so close that McCown was at her side at the hospital when her baby was born.

“She mentors others with their struggles,” said McCown. “She just has a love for people.”

The donation of a vehicle to a community member is a first for OLH.

“We want people to know that we do take those types of donations,” OLH Executive Director Susan Baker said. “We even accept cars that don’t run if they have the title because we can salvage it for a few hundred dollars to support the needs of our clients.”

Individuals interested in donating a vehicle should contact Baker at OLH. Operation Liberty Hill is located at 1401 US Hwy 183 in Leander, TX.

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