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      Family wins car for Christmas

      Rita Jennings and her "new" car. / Photo by: Chad Douglas

      Christmas is only six days away, but a tri-state family got an early a big way.

      When Rita Jennings woke up this morning, she had no idea how her day would end.

      In a matter of seconds, tears began running down Rita Jennings' cheeks. Santa Claus visited Monroe City early this year, and dropped off this car for Rita and her two kids.

      "I couldn't believe it. I couldn't believe it," says Jennings.

      The gift is part of a national Benevolence Program many body shops take part in. J-C Collision Repair is one of 54 body shops that gave away a car this year. Rita wrote an essay about how a car would help her family.

      "I can be a very successful person. Sometimes people just need a little extra help to get that achieved. I just need a little bit of help and I'd be able to accomplish things this way," says Jennings.

      The giving doesn't stop with the car. Both of Rita's kids got new rides of their own and stacks of Christmas presents.

      "It'll be amazing for my kids. We've recently went through some hardships and it was going to be tough this Christmas season. This has made it wonderful, says Jennings.

      "We want it to go to somebody who's trying to improve their life. They need a little extra help," says Todd Platt, the shop manager.

      Todd Platt is the body shop manager and says he looks forward to this day every year.

      "It's very emotional. You get a big lump in your throat and the look on their face when they see what happens. They don't expect it and they're not asking for it," says Platt.

      The taxes, registration, and license are all paid for for the Jennings family. And so is their first six months of car insurance.

      What is the first thing you're going to do when you drive out of here?

      "I haven't given it much thought honestly. Take them for a ride. Take them for a ride," says Jennings.

      The ride doesn't stop there.

      About 40 businesses and individuals donated to make this happen.

      A part of that donation, more than 800 dollars in gift cards and cash to make sure the Jennings kids have presents under the tree on Christmas morning.