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LAKEVILLE, Minn. -- Christmas came early for a south Minneapolis mom thanks to LaMettry's Collision Center.

Julie Erlandson is a single mother with two grown children. Nearly five years ago she became a foster mom and ended up adopting two kids, Eva and Olivia.

"I love kids. I love raising kids. I love loving on kids. It's part of who I am" she said.

But times haven't always been easy for her family. Sometimes money gets tight but she's not one to ask for help because she's usually the one giving. So, Erlandson was a little overwhelmed Wednesday as she stood in a room full of people who wanted to do something for her.

"I'm just pinching myself. I just can't believe this is fun. It's amazing," she said.

Without her knowing Ann Hill, a friend and colleague from Feed My Starving Children where she works, nominated her for Recycled Rides.

"I've ridden in Julie's car. It has no heat, the windows doesn't close, no power steering, the tires are falling apart," Hill said.

Wednesday morning Erlandson got keys to her new car, a revamped 2005 Chrysler Town and Country. It didn't take long for the kids to get comfortable. The 50-year-old mom said she's just happy to have a car that can get her family to school, day care and work safely.

"To hand the keys to her and look in her eyes it was awesome," JoAnne LaMettry, owner of the collision center, said.

More than a dozen other partners pitched in to help restore the van. This is the first time LaMettry's has participated in the Recycled Rides program.

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