Car dealerships have a proud history of giving back to their communities. While this support often takes the form of a financial contribution to a local charity, local event or organization, sometimes the donation is more unique.
In 2021, Toyota On The Park adopted a horse named Lewis – nicknamed Sweet Lou – at Sari Therapeutic Riding in Arva, Ont. It helps children and young adults with special needs grow physically and socially through specialized horseback riding. As part of the adoption program, Toyota On The Park covers the cost of the horse’s care for a full year. Lewis is one of 20 horses available for adoption through the program.
“We adopted Lewis last year and renewed it this year, and will continue to do so each year,” said Courtney Toms, marketing manager at Toyota on the Park.
Another charity that Toyota on the Park proudly supports is Motionball, a not-for-profit organization that raises money and awareness for the Special Olympics. The dealership recently participated in Marathon of Sport Toronto, which involved teams participating in various sports, and raised $375,000.
“Each team had the privilege of having a special Olympic athlete on their team. Ours was Mark, and he really was the MVP of the day,” said Toms. “This charity is one of our main focuses as it always involves the athletes. It allows us to support (the charity) as a team and be involved with those that benefit from our donations.”
Last November, Toyota On The Park was also a Tree Sponsor for the Make-A-Wish Trees of Joy Event. “We were provided a tree wish list for Oakley, a six-year-old who was diagnosed with a rare liver disease,” said Toms. “Oakley wished to have a white tree that was Sonic the Hedgehog and “Frozen”-themed, and that is exactly what we did.”
A Care-a-van of donations
In 2014, Uxbridge-based Williamson Chrysler launched Care-a-van, described as a “punny take on the Dodge Caravan,” to help the community’s food bank. The dealership partnered with a few local businesses to collect non-perishable food and donations.
This year’s event involved the participation of 20 local businesses and saw 30 van loads of donations delivered to the foodbank in June. In all, between $40,000 and $50,000 has been raised since the program started. “This cause is very close to my heart, and I am proud our how community has helped grow it over the years,” said Jim Williamson, dealer principal at Williamson Chrysler.
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