The Bristol Home Drives Away with All-New Ford Vehicle

February 15, 2012 Updated Feb 15, 2012 at 6:02 PM EDT

By WKBW News


The Bristol Home Drives Away with All-New Ford Vehicle

February 15, 2012 Updated Feb 15, 2012 at 6:02 PM EDT

Buffalo, N.Y. (WKBW release) -- Thanks to nearly 1,900 total votes generated by attendees of the 2012 Buffalo Auto Show and, The Bristol Home is the third Western New York nonprofit selected to ‘drive away’ in an all-new Ford Friendship Express vehicle this year.

According to a news release issued Wednesday:

During the Buffalo Auto Show, the Western New York Ford Dealers announced “Ford Friendship: Friendly Vote Van Giveaway,” a new promotion that encouraged the public to vote for a nonprofit organization to receive an all-new Ford vehicle. Attendees were given three choices – The Bristol Home, Joan A. Male Family Support Center, and Olmsted Center for Sight.

The Friendly Vote Van Giveaway ran in conjunction with the Ford Friendship Express Program, an annual charitable initiative created by the WNY Ford Dealers. Through the program, Schiller Park Community Services, Inc. and The Franciscan Center were awarded new Ford vans on the opening day of the Buffalo Auto Show, prior to the launch of the Friendly Vote Van Giveaway announcement.

The organizations competing in the promotion were chosen by the Ford Friendship Express Selection Committee. Voting was open to Auto Show attendees and visitors of, beginning Wednesday, Feb. 8 and ending on Sunday, Feb. 12 at 6 p.m.

“For more than 16 years, we’ve spent countless hours deciding which organizations were most deserving of the Ford Friendship Express vehicles. It’s never easy. The organizations that apply have a great need for the vehicle and provide such vital services to the people of Western New York,” Scott Bieler, chairman of the Ford Friendship Express Selection Committee said in the news release. “This year, we wanted to offer the community the opportunity to get involved in the selection.”

In addition to awarding The Bristol Home with a new vehicle, the Ford Dealers also presented a $2,500 check to each of the runner-up organizations: Joan A. Male Family Support Center and Olmsted Center for Sight.

“Having the Ford Dealers drive up to our organization with the keys to our new vehicle felt like receiving one of those big Publishers Clearing House checks,” said Mike Helbringer, President, The Bristol Home. “We couldn’t be more excited and we truly want to thank all of the Auto Show voters, the community, and the Western New York Ford Dealers for selecting us. This vehicle will be put to use right away to help us to better serve our fifty-four residents.”

Since its inception in 1996, the Ford Friendship Express program has donated vehicles to more than 65 local organizations, valued at more than $1.2 million.

Past Ford Friendship Express van recipients include: Boys & Girls Clubs of the Northtowns, Homespace Inc., Boys & Girls Club of Orchard Park, Boys & Girls Club of East Aurora, The Buffalo Zoo, Camp Good Days & Special Times, Food Bank of WNY, Foodlink, Friends of Night People, Goodwill Industries of WNY, Inc., Hickok Center for Brain Injury, Meals on Wheels Foundation, Niagara Falls Boys & Girls Club, Niagara Hospice, Rural Transit Services, SABAH, YMCA Buffalo Niagara and more.

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