In a family of 20, transportation is a challenge not to be taken lightly. But when many of those children need wheelchair-accessible rides, the challenge grows exponentially.
Chuck and Penny Hauer were facing that difficulty as parents to 18 adopted special needs children.
But Thursday, the Hauers were surprised with a gift that they say will change their lives: a handicap-accessible van.
“I’m usually never at a loss for words, but I don’t know -- what words do you say? Other than thank you all,” said Penny.
Encinitas charity Passion 4 K.I.D.S. – a nonprofit dealing with handicapped, abandoned and abused children – presented the new set wheels to the family.
Founder Linda Van Kessler said she received a call from an anonymous El Cajon donor about three weeks ago, asking what their biggest need was.
When Van Kessler pointed out the Hauer’s need, the donor handed over the money to go buy the van.
“This is something that’s been a dream of ours for so long to get this for them. It’s been such a huge need,” said Passion 4 K.I.D.S. founder Linda Van Kessler.
Helping special needs children has become a life mission for the Hauers. They have adopted 44 children in addition to their five biological kids.
“You never think of numbers. They’ll call you and say, ‘Well we have this little girl, born in India. She has no eyes. What do you think?’ Well, you think, ‘What can I do for her?’ That’s pretty much what Chuck and I based all – pretty much all – of our life on is ‘Can we give them something?’” said Penny.
But after Chuck retired, money has become tighter with each addition to the family – a big reason this gift will go a long way.
Penny said it will enable them to take multiple kids to doctor visits and other medical errands.
When first presented with the gift, all Penny could initially say was “Angels.”