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How a Smashed Car Helped Build a Better Community in New Jersey

by | Jan 26, 2019 | News

NORTH PLAINFIELD, NJ – Very rarely do we get the opportunity to witness a charitable success story right in our own back yard. Recently the North Plainfield community worked together to turn a negative situation into a positive and help people along the way with the Society of Saint Vincent de Paul, the North Plainfield Fire Department, North Plainfield Forum, and VIP Honda all working together.

It all started when the personal vehicle of the president of the Society of St Vincent DePaul was rear-ended. The car, which he was using to pick up and drop off donations to their center, was was in such a poor condition that the repairs would have cost more than the value of the car itself. The group scrambled to figure out how they would continue to see through their work and provide food for the remainder of the year.

Image source: TapInto.net

The work performed is 100% volunteer based and supported through donations from the parish of Saint Joseph’s church, local vendors and dedicated community members. SVdP feeds upward of 10,000 mouths a year and distributes food weekly to approximately 70 families in North Plainfield and the surrounding communities.

The group was determined and didn’t give up – they did business as usual and made extra trips, borrowed extra personal vehicles and asked for assistance whenever they could. As luck would have it, that following week, they attended the North Plainfield Forum meeting and saw why the forum was formed and how the community really can come together for a better North Plainfield.

Their district liaison, who attends monthly, announced their transportation dilemma during the meeting and solicited any suggestions or help the forum could offer.

North Plainfield’s fire chief, Bill Eaton, came up with an idea to reach out to an old time North Plainfield resident and supporter of the community, Bill Vince, owner and operator of VIP Honda on Route 22. Eaton put Saint Vincent’s in contact with Vince to explain the situation, and VIP Honda donated a box truck to the organization and agreed to cover maintenance on the vehicle as long as they continued doing such great work and helping the less fortunate.

“We were elated,” said former SVdP district liaison June O’Neill. “Vince is just amazing, he really blessed us with this truck and is a pleasure to work with. We can’t thank him enough.”

SVdP agreed to keep the VIP signage on the truck to promote new business for Vince.

SVdP said this was truly a blessing from above and was so thankful for the recommendation that they reached out to the chief to ask how they could ever repay him for introducing them to VIP Honda.

Since the old vehicle was not in a repairable state, Eaton asked if SVdP would be willing to donate it to the NPFD to practice dry runs with the Jaws of Life. SVdP president Jeff LaCross was pleased to donate it and potentially help save the lives of others with firefighters performing drills on his old vehicle.

LaCross had the vehicle delivered to the fire station,  and once the fire department completed the drills, they retired the vehicle at the scrap yard.

Talk about turning a negative situation into a positive and a community coming together to solve a problem. Not only was SVdP gifted a new truck, to feed and sustain many, but the gift of the old car to practice on may help save a life the next time the fire department is faced with needing to use the Jaws of Life.

Source: SVdP Frederic’s E-Gazette 1-17-2019; Article originally published on TapInto.net: How a Smashed Car Helps Build a Better North Plainfield, by June O’Neill, Zach Nemcek.

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