Refugee Family Gets Lion’s 39th 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.

February 9, 2023

Members of the Morro Bay Lions Club pose with their 39th car giveaway, this time going to a family of Afghan refugees. Photo courtesy Morro Bay Lions Club

A number of local community service organizations got together recently to help out a family of refugees from Afghanistan, providing them with reliable transportation.

According to Morro Bay Lion’s Club member, Bill Todd of Todd’s Garage in Morro Bay, this car giveaway was special because of all who were involved.

“The Morro Bay Lions, Morro Bay Eagles, and SLO4Homes organizations,” Todd said, “pooled their resources, and gave away their 39th car!”

Morro Bay Eagle’s Past President Josh Howell, Todd said, donated the 2004 Toyota Camry to the program. 

The Lions and SLO4homes, “provided the funding to repair the car to give to a political refugee family that was extracted from their war torn country to the states,” Todd said.

That family, Todd added, wished to remain anonymous in fear of the Taliban, which re-took Afghanistan upon the withdrawal of U.S. troops in August 2021, after two decades of war.

The Lion’s Club car giveaway program seeks to provide people with reliable transportation, with the motto: “Helping change lives one car at a time.” 

Recipients are chosen from applications submitted, which is done in coordination with the Community Resource Connections. Cars are given away on a quarterly basis. If readers are in need of reliable transportation, they can apply for the giveaway program online at: or call Sharon O’Leary of the Community Resource Connections, 805-225-1991.

The program is also in need of donated cars. Anyone who has an extra vehicle and would like to donate it should call Bill Todd at 805-772-1985. Recipients have mostly been active community volunteers, who get rewarded for their service to the community. 

For his part, Bill and his son Mike Todd, go through donated cars, fixing things that need fixing to make sure they run good, and smog checking the vehicles, too. 

If a car can’t be used, they can sell it for money that is then used to buy parts for another donor vehicle. Donors get a tax-deductible donation receipt.

Bill Todd said this latest giveaway was touching because the family “was extremely grateful and excited to receive the car.”

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