Children at Faith, Hope & Charity will enjoy a smoother ride for 2004 and many years to come thanks to Variety - The Children's Charity. The charity recently awarded Faith, Hope & Charity a new Sunshine Coach, valued at more than $30,000. "We turned in our grant application for a new van this past summer, and are very pleased our request was granted," said Mary Sorenson, FH&C Development Director. Sorenson says they applied for a new coach in the past, but their request was not granted. "We very grateful Variety saw our need this time."
The new van replaces a Sunshine Coach given to Faith, Hope & Charity eleven years ago by Variety. The old van had more than 130,000 miles on it. "The Sunshine Coach had been used in the past to take the children to out-of-town medical appointments and for recreation activities, but with high miles and normal wear and tear, we had to limit the van to in-town use only," Sorenson said. With the arrival of the new coach, Faith, Hope & Charity will once again be able to use the van for travel.
The van can transport 9 passengers, including two in wheelchairs. Faith, Hope & Charity staff members say they are looking forward to driving a van that is quiet, rides smooth, and has a good heating and air conditioning unit. The new van is also safer because it's equipped with dual airbags, built-in shoulder harnesses, and has running boards. Comparing the two vans, a few changes have been made. In the past, the van's wheelchair lift was placed on the side of the van. The new coach comes with the lift in the back. "We had a choice of where to place the lift, and the majority of our staff believed placing the lift in the back would be safer for the children" says Sorenson.
Donating a van is not the only way Variety has supported Faith, Hope & Charity. In the summer of 2002, the charity awarded the organization a $100,000 challenge grant to help pay for the purchase of their new Community Services Center. Sorenson says they are truly thankful for all the support Variety has give to Faith, Hope & Charity. "Receiving a new van was one of our goals, another is to complete our $400,000 campaign. We are still in need of donations." If anyone wishes to contribute to the campaign and make a difference in the life of a special needs child, call 712-732-5127 and ask for Mary Sorenson.