Ford Friendship Program Delivers Vans to 3 Nonprofits

February 7, 2013 Updated Feb 7, 2013 at 9:41 AM EDT

By Tracey Drury, Buffalo Business First

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Ford Friendship Program Delivers Vans to 3 Nonprofits

February 7, 2013 Updated Feb 7, 2013 at 9:41 AM EDT

Three nonprofit groups were selected by the WNY Ford Dealers to receive vans through its 2013 Ford Friendship Express program.

Buffalo Museum of Science, Cantalician Center for Learning and Family Help Center each received the keys to a new van during the announcement at the 2013 Buffalo Auto Show.

More than 45 local nonprofits applied for the van donation program this year.

Deborah Merrifield, executive director at Family Help Center, said the van comes at a crucial time for the organization, with its previous vehicle on its last leg and no funds to afford a new purchase. The organization, formerly known as the Joan A. Male Family Support Center, uses its vehicle to bring clients to the site.

The Buffalo Museum of Science will use its new van to expand community outreach programming, introducing its programs to a broader audience; while the Cantalician Center will use its van to bring its students out into the community.

Since 1996, the Ford Friendship Express program has awarded 68 vans valued at more than $1.7 million.

The Western New York Ford Dealers are part of the Western New York Ford Stores, an advertising cooperative comprised of 31 dealer locations in the 13 counties of Western New York and Rochester, and three counties in Northern Pennsylvania.