Lions Award 40th Free Car

Written by Neil Farrell

Neil has been a journalist covering the Estero Bay Area for over 27 years. He’s won numerous journalism awards in several different categories over his career.

June 5, 2023

From left are Morro Bay Lions Club member, Bill Todd, Matthew Daniels holding young daughter, Aurora, and MB Lions’ Chuck Stoll during the May 6 awarding of a free 2011 Toyota Corolla by the Lions to the Daniels Family of Taft, Calif. It was the 40th free car that the giveaway program has awarded. Submitted photo

The Morro Bay Lions Club recently gave away its 40th free vehicle to a family in need, this time from Taft.

The Lions were on hand at the 27th Cruisin’ Morro Bay Car Show selling hot dogs and snacks and raising money for their many programs that assist those in need in our area. 

They were also on hand to give away another car, which they’ve done every three months since becoming involved starting in 2017.

But the car giveaways go farther back, to 2014, when father-son, Bill and Mike Todd of Todd’s Garage auto shop in Morro Bay began giving away cars to people in need of reliable transportation.

The Todd boys first joined forces with Sharon O’Leary of the Morro Bay Resource Center, a non-profit organization that helps people find resources, to help them find worthy car recipients. 

The car giveaway has been very successful and every person or couple that receives a free vehicle is grateful and humbled by the generosity being shown to them.

The only requirements are that the people insure the car and keep up with the licensing and maintenance. 

On May 6, as the annual car show displayed over 500 classic and custom cars and hot rods, a 2011 Toyota Corolla was given to the Daniels Family of Taft, Calif.

Lions Club member, Chuck Stoll, said “Matthew Daniels [the patriarch of the Daniels Family], carrying his infant daughter, Aurora, to the stage was visibly moved and speechless by the donation.”

Stoll added, “The Daniels Family was selected from several applications by the Morro Bay Lions Foundation Board. Their decision was based on the family’s desperate need for a vehicle, their focus on assisting young adults with disabilities, and their willingness to pay it forward in their community.” Matthew’s wife, Morgan, “could not make the trek due to illness.”

The Lions Car Giveaway Program is supported by donations of both vehicles and money, which is needed for parts and repairs to make sure the cars they give away are in top working condition. Bill and Mike Todd fix whatever is wrong and also smog check the vehicles to make sure they can legally be on the road.

Often times, people, especially the elderly find themselves with extra or unneeded cars, either because a spouse has died or in some cases they no longer drive. 

They can donate the car to the Lions’ program and receive a tax deduction for it. Tax-deductible monetary donations are also welcomed and go to support more than just the car giveaway.

“The monies received from donations to the Foundation,” Stoll said, “also help feed the hungry, provide scholarships to local schools, provide eye screening, glasses and even surgeries, and support local charities.”

To apply to receive a car, contact O’Leary at the Morro Bay Resource Center at 805-225-1991 to get an application form (certain restrictions do apply).

For car donations, or make a tax-deductible monetary donation call Bill or Mike Todd at 805-772-1985 (do not call the shop to apply for a car).

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