WNY Ford Dealers Announce 2012 Ford Friendship Express Recipients

February 8, 2012 Updated Feb 8, 2012 at 6:08 PM EDT

By WKBW News

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WNY Ford Dealers Announce 2012 Ford Friendship Express Recipients

February 8, 2012 Updated Feb 8, 2012 at 6:08 PM EDT

Buffalo, N.Y. (WKBW release) -- On Wednesday at the 2012 Buffalo Auto Show, two local nonprofit organizations -- Schiller Park Community Services, Inc. and The Franciscan Center -- joined a list of more than 65 groups to receive new Ford passenger vans, compliments of the Western New York Ford Dealers and its Ford Friendship Express program.

“Every day, the people who work at Schiller Park Community Services, Inc. and the Franciscan Center  make an overwhelming difference in our community by providing essential services to Western New Yorkers in need,” Scott Bieler, chairman of the Ford Friendship Express Selection Committee, said in a news release. “Through the Ford Friendship Express program, the Western New York Ford Dealers are able to give back to those who work tirelessly to provide for others.”

Schiller Park Community Services, Inc., an organization dedicated to helping low income senior citizens, and the Franciscan Center, a group that provides transitional care for young men in need, both received the keys to their new Ford vehicles during the Ford Friendship Express program’s debut at the 2012 Buffalo Auto Show. The recipients were carefully chosen by the Ford Friendship Express Selection Committee, who has been reviewing applications since the Ford Dealers issued the “call” for submissions in October 2011.

“We couldn’t be more excited to be a recipient of the 2012 Ford Friendship Express program,” said Michael Tritto, director, Schiller Park Community Services, Inc. “Every month we transport more than 300 senior citizens to medical appointments and other activities around the city. With all of the driving we do, it’s important that we have a safe and reliable vehicle. This new Ford van provides us with that security and will allow us to safely transport all of the seniors who rely on us.”

Brother Brian from the Franciscan Center added, “WNY Ford’s generosity will allow us to expose the young men in our organization to all of the community programs and jobs that Western New York offers.  For many of them, this is a chance to see the opportunities available outside of the neighborhoods they live in for the first time.”

In addition to debuting this year’s giveaway at the Buffalo Auto Show, the Ford Dealers also announced the “Ford Friendship: Friendly Vote Van Giveaway,” a program that encourages Auto Show attendees to vote for a third 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 – chosen by the Ford Friendship Express Selection Committee. Voting begins on Wednesday, February 8 and ends on Sunday, February 12 at 6 p.m.  Auto Show attendees can submit their votes to a designated ballot box, located in the Ford display at the Buffalo Convention Center.

The community can also vote online at www.wnyford.com now through Sunday, February 12 at 6 p.m.

“We are thrilled to be able to award a third van to another charitable organization this year,” said Bieler. “And we’re particularly excited to partner with the local community to do so.  We encourage everyone to get involved, go vote and spread the word. With your participation, we can all help another organization better the lives of our fellow community members.”

The recipient organization will be announced in the days following the conclusion of the Buffalo Auto Show.