Five South Carolina families receive cars as Christmas surprise

State - Regional

AWENDAW, S.C. (WCBD) – One South Carolina man is dedicating his time to helping families in rural areas. On Christmas day, five families woke up to a car in their driveway.

It’s all thanks to Eliot Middleton, who founded Middleton’s Village to Village Foundation. After hosting a food drive last year, many attendees told Middleton they walked, some for miles, in order to pick up food. That”s when he realized a bigger problem.

“People out here in the rural areas, they need vehicles. Because if they don’t have vehicles, they can’t get back and forth to decent jobs, they can’t get back and forth to doctor appointments,” said Middleton.

The cars are donated to Middleton who then fixes them up. Before opening a restaurant in Awendaw, Middleton was a mechanic for 17 years.

“Out here with no transit, no bus, no uber, no taxi, a vehicle is like the number one priority before anything can really happen for you out here,” said Middleton.

Once the cars are ready to be donated, he finds families in need. Part of that process is speaking to leaders in rural towns, like Andrews or McClellanville.

One recipient of a car on Christmas is Melanie Lee of Andrews. Middleton found her through the Mayor of Andrews, Frank McClary.

Lee had a truck but it recently gave out after multiple trips to Charleston.

“I had a truck that I’ve had for about seven years and it was running pretty good. Then my son got sick in August and I was back and forth to charleston every single day,” said Lee.

Then in November, her son passed away. She was left with grief and many other concerns.

“Now, here I am having to worry about how am I gonna go check on his kids every day, bring them to the house, feed them, and get them whatever they need,” she said.

Thanks to the surprise car donation, Lee now has a way to make sure her family is taken care of.

“My baby that I lost…his two girls? One of them lives about eight miles from me and I’m with her every day,” said Lee. “So she’s back and forth. It’s gonna help me get her to dance class. It’s gonna help me get the other ones to things they would do with their dad.”

Middleton says this is a Christmas he will never forget and he hopes to continue his car donation program to help as many people as he can.

If you have a car you’d like to donate or know someone who would be a good candidate for the program, contact Eliot Middleton at

The organization is also looking for towing equipment and mechanical equipment. Middleton says he’s also hoping to encourage any teenagers or people who want to learn mechanical skills to reach out as he is planning to incorporate volunteer opportunities into the program.

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