PHOENIX — A Valley nonprofit got its prayers answered Wednesday after a massive fundraising effort delivered the gift of a new van that will help hundreds of seniors every day.
“Honestly, every time I would come home, I would just say I just cannot get over the generosity and the heart of this community,” said Sheryl Keeme.
Keeme is the executive director of Neighbors Who Care. For 28 years, their community volunteers have helped make the lives of aging seniors in Sun Lakes and south Chandler a little easier. The van is a tool that helps get them to doctor appointments, physical therapy, and other errands.
“They may be someone who's a little older, doesn’t have any family around here, and just needs a little bit of help maybe once or twice a month to get their groceries or to get to the bank,” said Keeme.
Unfortunately, over the pandemic, their previous van had gone as far as it could for 18 years, breaking down and bringing the service to a halt.
“It broke several times that van,” said Romon Rubio. “I mean we got a lot out of it that’s for sure.”
Ramon Rubio is a volunteer driver. He says without the service, many of his clients were left with few transportation options.
“Not only do they get to run errands, but they also do this alongside other seniors which allows them to socialize together as well when they may not have a lot of other avenues to do that,” said Rubio.
The situation quickly came to the attention of Chandler's largest employer, Intel.
“We all have aging parents, we have grandparents, and so it’s very personal to me that Intel is being that good corporate neighbor and that we’re helping our seniors in the community get the services they need,” said Jennifer Sanchez, Community Affairs Manager for Intel.
So, the company rallied behind the nonprofit by donating $25,000. Other donor groups including Dignity Health, Sundt, Greater Sun Lakes Community Foundation, and Lions International, jumped on board soon after, raising enough money to purchase and modify a brand new, 15-seat Ford Transit van.
“For all those that helped make this happen, I would say thank you so much, without them we couldn’t have done it,” said Rubio.
But because they did, an entire community is feeling grateful as well.
Neighbors Who Care is always in need of volunteers, if anyone is interested, click here.