12/27/2004 at 01:00 AM EST
It was a slimmer, Celine-clad Oprah
Winfrey who launched her show's 19th, "Wildest Dreams Come True," season by giving Pontiac G6's worth about $28,000 each to 276 audience members, many of whom had responded to a call for viewers' worst car stories on Oprah
.com. At 50, Winfrey seems content to count her blessings—"My dream was, when I first started making money, to pass it on," she said while accepting a humanitarian award at Morehouse College—and to spread the wealth in typically over-the-top fashion. Naturally, says best friend Gayle King, "Oprah
doesn't do anything small."
'S AUTUMN TO REMEMBER
Winfrey gave 21-year-old Alexandra Molina, who had been homeless, a full college scholarship—room and board included—a makeover and a $10,000 wardrobe.
She threw a baby shower for 640 military moms-to-be at Fort Campbell, Ky. Gifts included $1,000 plane tickets, $200 stroller/car seat combos and $150 digital cameras.
On the Favorite Things show, about 300 teachers went home with roughly $15,000 in merchandise.
Winfrey's Wildest Dreams bus tour surprised Bernadette Robinson, single mother of nine, with a nearly $15,000 Toys "R" Us shopping spree and a home she'll choose herself.