Community support fuels new van for Boys & Girls Club

The Boys and Girls Club of the Sandhills is celebrating the recent purchase of a brand-new van, made possible by community fundraising and support of Aaron Cooper and his dealership, Cooper Ford.

“At our Youth of the Year program in February, we raised money for a new transit van for our Club Members, and with the assistance of Aaron Cooper at Cooper Ford closing the gaps, we were able to purchase a brand new van,” announced Megan Keating, director of development. “Now, not only do our kids have reliable transportation that their parents don’t have to worry about, but they also get to ride in style.”

The club was in dire need of a new transit van for the Logan-Blake Unit on Highway 5 in Pinehurst. Due to a shortage of school bus drivers in Moore County, many of the children from Pinehurst Elementary were unable to find reliable transportation to the Pinehurst center. Though the center had two used school buses, it lacked volunteers with CDLs to drive them. As such, many children from Pinehurst and surrounding communities were unable to attend the club.

Initially, the Boys and Girls Club team set out to raise funds to purchase a used, pre-owned van. At the club’s Youth of the Year program, the Boys and Girls Club of the Sandhills recognizes outstanding members of the club, and the event doubles as a fundraiser to help with the club’s current needs. This year’s event was particularly successful, amassing $35,000 in donations toward purchasing a vehicle.

Moving forward, the Boys and Girls Club contacted Cooper Ford to purchase a used van. However, the team received an unexpected surprise after speaking with Aaron Cooper.

The dealership had recently ordered a brand-new van for a previous customer, but the deal had fallen through, and the customer had never purchased the van. Aaron Cooper recognized the club’s need along with their contributions to the community and stepped in to help.

“He and the members of his dealership decided that they were willing to help us; they took the money we had and then paid off the rest so we could have the van we needed,” said Keating. “We are so thankful. We never even thought this was a possibility and had no expectation that they’d come through in such a meaningful and generous way.”

With reliable transportation secured, children attending the club can now ride in comfort and style — which Keating says the kids notice, comment on, and appreciate. The van has been wrapped with official Boys and Girls Club branding along with the Cooper Ford logo, and the kids have even commented on the “new car smell.”

“This is the first time the Boys and Girls Club of the Sandhills has ever had a brand new anything, much less a brand new vehicle,” Keating said with a laugh. “It’s really special, and it goes to show the heart of people in this community and how they can get behind a cause. We have the generosity of all our donors coming together and raising the funds; then we had Aaron Cooper and his team coming through and helping us in a way we never expected.”

Feature photo: Left to right: German Bostic, Chris Eckert, Aaron Cooper, Katrina Williams, Le’Anda Spears, Deon Allbrooks, and Velinda Davis-contributed photo.

~Written by Sandhills Sentinel assistant editor Abegail Murphy. 

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