After an extensive search, we found a perfect replacement van in “like new” condition inside and out with only 38,000 miles. It has a motorized side wheelchair ramp with hydraulics that “kneel” to minimize the slope of the ramp. Unlike the older Dodge van that was stolen, the ignition key has a computerized chip that will make the van virtually impossible to steal. In addition, the van is equipped with a security alarm system. To further discourage thievery, we have installed powerful new floodlights directed at the Day Program parking area.
Now, our fleet of three wheelchair vans has been restored. Using transport provided by our vans along with public transit and paratransit, all our Day Program consumers can again enjoy daily community-integrated activities including work at paid and volunteer jobs and access to the library, museums, parks and recreation, and more.
Our online fundraising campaign to help with costs to replace the stolen van brought in individual donations totaling $4,675. In addition, a local foundation pledged a grant of at least $5,000 toward the van replacement costs. These contributions reduced our out-of-pocket costs to $6,000. You can still donate if you’d like to help us put those funds back to work developing services for our consumers.
P.S. The stolen van was recently found abandoned on the street. It will be “totaled” by the insurance carrier as the thieves caused significant damage by smashing the dashboard, steering column, door locks, etc. They tried unsuccessfully to remove our company signage, and made a crude effort to paste new signage over our signage. They removed the license plates, and installed plates stolen from another vehicle. But our consumers and staff have big smiles again now. We are so delighted to have a nice new (used) van and to get back up to speed with our many community-integrated activities.
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