A van donated to the Mustard Seed will keep the driver warm during cold winter days while he’s on the road picking up donations from businesses.
On Monday the Scottsville Group donated the cargo van to the Mustard Seed Monday morning after a request was made to the dealership late last year.
Byron Bradley, director of the Mustard Seed Central Alberta, said the van will help the organization “immensely.”
He said a Mustard Seed driver goes out to about 18 businesses about five days a week to pick up donations like dairy products, bread, meat and vegetables. Donations picked up go towards the Mustard Seed’s School lunch program and other meal programs.
The van will also come in handy to help people as to move furniture and beds when they relocate.
“[The older vehicle] needed about $8,000 of work on it, it’s not running very good and it doesn’t have a lot of heat for winter time,” said Bradley.
With a $40,000 price tag, the van is his number one Christmas present, said Bradley.
Garrett Scott, Scottsville Auto Group chief operating officer, said the van comes with winter tires and maintenance for five years.
“There was just a need, it wasn’t a hard decision whether we do this or not,” said Scott.
“They have got a way bigger hill to climb than we do as car dealers. They support so many people that I was blown away by how much they were doing and hopefully it helps them expand their reach.”
Although most days volunteers who prepare lunches for students delivers them to schools, the van will be useful for days when volunteers can’t deliver meals themselves.
The lunch program has been operating for about 20 years. The program has grown preparing 385 lunches from 250 lunches since the Mustard Seed took it over from Loaves and Fishes in 2016.
Teachers and school administrators identify students who could use the lunch program for the Mustard Seed.
“For many of them it is their first meal of the day,” said Bradley.
The lunch program helps students in 31 schools in both the Red Deer Public and Red Deer Catholic Regional School students in all grades, but primarily in elementary schools.
Bradley said one Grade 4 student said she and her older siblings have relied on the program throughout the years.
“She said she doesn’t know how her family got to where they are today without the lunches that they got from Loaves and Fishes and the Mustard Seed,” said Bradley.
About 10 volunteers prepare fresh sandwiches for students but Bradley said the organization can use about five more volunteers to come in and help every school day.