Later this month, a New Jersey family will be the recipient of a 2016 Toyota sport-utility vehicle with the hope that the donated car will help lift the family out of hard times.

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The "Recycled Rides" program, run by the nonprofit National Auto Body Council, is partnering for a third year with Branning Collision Centers, which has five locations throughout the Garden State, to award a car to a family in need.

Kim Branning of the auto body shop chain said the family has already been selected through a partnership with the Fish Hospitality Program in Middlesex, Union and Somerset counties, but some of the details associated with the donation may not emerge until the vehicle is given away Wednesday, Oct. 19, at Branning's East Brunswick facility.

"The family knows that they're receiving the vehicle; they do not know what kind of vehicle they're getting, and I don't believe they know how new the vehicle is," she said.

Fish Hospitality works primarily with homeless families, or families with single mothers raising several children, but the auto repair shop still takes the lead on picking "whoever we feel is most deserving of the vehicle."

"It's a program that's dedicated to helping out someone in the community who has either fallen on hard times or maybe there was a sickness in the family," Branning said.

Geico donated this year's car, which was involved in a crash and ruled a total loss. But the Branning team, along with parts vendors who will be present at the giveaway, have donated time and materials to fully repair and refurbish the SUV.

For more information on the Oct. 19 event, or on how you can get involved with Recycled Rides in future years, go to

Patrick Lavery produces "New Jersey's First News" and is New Jersey 101.5's morning drive breaking news reporter. Follow him on Twitter @plavery1015 or email

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