A local non-profit organization dedicated to helping seniors has won a new car courtesy of a national contest.
The Prairie Council on Aging was one of the winners in the Toyota “100 Cars for Good” contest conducted on Facebook. Toyota is running the competition for 50 days in October and November, awarding two cars per day based on voting. Prairie Council on Aging’s turn was on Tuesday.
Among several benefits, executive director Nancy Thorsen says the new vehicle will help the group offset some of the costs of delivering meals for its “Bread of Love” program.
“What prompted us was the nutrition program. We might be able to parlay this into some reduction in food price if we deliver the food in bulk to some of our outlying areas,” says Thorsen.
“Our current caterer, Hamilton’s, is having to drive all of those distances every day for us. We have to pay Hamilton’s to deliver the food right now because the Doorbell Dinner program is so successful in getting the churches locally to deliver those meals. They’re not always willing or able to take on another route,” she adds.
Thorsen says Toyota will donate one of five cars, and that Prairie Council listed the Siena as its preference. She says the organization currently uses an older company car, which is less expensive than reimbursing employees for mileage.
Thorsen says it’s exciting to know how much community support was given to Prairie Council in the voting process.
“We tried last year and we came in second place. They were giving the number one [organization] the car and the number two [non-profit] would get a thousand bucks,” Thorsen says.
“Well, a thousand bucks is great, but we had to try again this year, and because they were doing it in 50 days, they only allowed 250 not-for-profits instead of 500, so we were happy t to even get into the contest. Jacksonville, really knows how to pull together and get these contests done,” she continues.
Thorsen says the new car will also help Prairie Council on Aging engage in social services for individuals to keep them in their homes for as long as possible and help in the non-profit’s investigations for elder abuse.
The organization serves seniors mainly 75 and older in Morgan, Scott, Cass, Greene and Jersey Counties.