Winnipeg Free Press

Province's dealers shift charitable efforts into high gear

by Myron Love  . Dec 22 2017

Manitoba car dealers are once again bringing holiday cheer to thousands of families and individuals.

In Winnipeg, clients of the Christmas Cheer Board, the Salvation Army, Siloam Mission, Willow Place, 1JustCity, Agape Table and Winnipeg Harvest are all the beneficiaries of local auto dealers’ generosity.

Crown Auto Group (Winnipeg Honda, Sunshine Toyota, Crown Acura, Crown Nissan, Crown Honda, Crown Mazda, WAM Collision Centre, Automax Pre-Owned Supercentre, GAS Performance and D-Max) — in partnership with Granny’s Poultry — has made turkey for Christmas a reality for many families in Winnipeg. The auto group set aside up to $50 from every vehicle sold from late November until mid-December for its Let’s Talk Turkey campaign. Last year, the campaign paid for 1,800 turkeys with hampers, which staff members dropped off at the Christmas Cheer Board. This year, the figure was closer to 2,000.

The Vickar Auto Group (consisting of Vickar Community Chevrolet, Vickar Ford, Vickar Mitsubishi and Waverley Mitsubishi, plus Vickar Auto Body & Glass) is helping five families through the Salvation Army’s Adopt a Family program by collecting items from staff to fill holiday hampers for each family. The dealerships also donated vans to the Salvation Army, the Feed My Lambs mobile food bank and a couple of Kinsmen Clubs for December for their holiday hamper deliveries — with Vickar staff helping with the Kinsmen deliveries.

Vickar staff also pulled a Santa Sleigh around Transcona last Sunday, and the staff, working together with the Transcona Rotary Club, once again volunteered their time for the Salvation Army Christmas Kettle at Kildonan Place Shopping Centre.

The Birchwood Auto Group and its Winnipeg stores (Birchwood Chevrolet Buick GMC, Birchwood Keystone Ford, Birchwood Honda West and Honda on Regent, Birchwood Lexus Toyota, Birchwood Kia West and Kia on Regent, Birchwood Infiniti Nissan, Birchwood BMW, Mini Winnipeg and Jaguar Land Rover Volvo Winnipeg) this year donated 70 turkeys and assorted gifts to disadvantaged families through the Cheer Board, Winnipeg Harvest and the Salvation Army.

Murray Chevrolet donated a new 2018 Chevrolet Equinox to the Salvation Army over the holiday season to support its Toy Mountain Kettle Campaign and delivered gifts and needed items to individuals and families over the holiday season.

The Chevrolet dealership and sister store Murray Hyundai also donated fresh turkeys to Siloam Mission. 

River City Ford this Christmas season adopted two families through the Christmas Cheer Board Feed a Family program. The staff also will be providing gifts for the kids.

Mid-Town Ford staff personally delivered several hampers full of food, cash and toys to ten families through the Christmas Cheer Board and the Salvation Army. Each sales rep “adopted” a family. The dealership also once again provided a van to the Salvation Army to help the organization deliver volunteers to its locations for the Sally Ann’s Christmas Red Shield Appeal and made contributions to Siloam Mission and Winnipeg Harvest.

Capital Ford and the staff donated cash and gifts to Toy Mountain at Polo Park and filled a truck with food for Winnipeg Harvest.

Every year, Jim Gauthier Chevrolet, Jim Gauthier Cadillac Buick GMC and Gauthier-owned Waverley Chrysler Dodge Jeep make available to the Christmas Cheer Board vans for the board’s use for picking up supplies and donations for food and gifts, as well as a van to Winnipeg Harvest. In the evenings for the 14 days leading up to Christmas, Gauthier staff deliver hampers to needy families around the city.

St. James Volkswagen/Audi Winnipeg this year adopted a family through Project Echo’s Sam’s Christmas campaign. Sam’s Christmas volunteers deliver deluxe hampers to a limited number of families throughout the city who are in need. St.James Volkswagen/Audi Winnipeg management challenged staff at the dealership to see which side could contribute more. The Volkswagen staff filled up a Volkswagen Atlas while the Audi people filled up an Audi RS7.

“The response was fantastic,” says Cindy Thompson, the dealership’s marketing manager. “The two teams both overfilled their vehicles.”

The dealership also contributed $1,600 raised at the annual Christmas party to the Cheer Board.

Auto Haus Volkswagen/Porsche Winnipeg sponsored a mother with two children through the Cheer Board with money raised from a silent auction at the staff Christmas party. Porsche Winnipeg also donated $4,000 to the Willow Place women’s shelter.

The staff at Mercedes-Benz Winnipeg, Focus Hyundai and Pinnacle Collision Centre helped out seven families this year with a delivery of 16 food hampers to the Cheer Board’s Feed a Family Program. As well, Mercedes-Benz Winnipeg president Brian Lowes and Focus Hyundai general manager Dean Peterson each spent a day personally delivering hampers for the Cheer Board.

McPhillips Toyota sales staff contributed money at the dealership’s annual Christmas party — which was held on Dec. 5 — for the Christmas Cheer Board with the dealer principals, the Cornwall family, matching the contribution.

The Pattison dealerships (Frontier Toyota, Frontier Subaru and Jim Pattison Subaru Winnipeg) this year teamed up with Pattison-owned Save-On-Foods for “One Big Day for Christmas.” Last Saturday, staff from the three auto stores helped fill up two 40-gallons bins plus some shopping carts at the Save-On-Foods location at Northgate Shopping Centre with food and gifts donated by customers. The collected items were donated to Winnipeg Harvest.

Frontier Toyota also raised money for Siloam Mission and made a financial contribution to the Salvation Army for Christmas.

Jim Pattison Subaru Winnipeg staff supplied a basket of food and gifts for a family in the Transcona area and collected food for Winnipeg Harvest. Frontier Subaru donated hampers through the Christmas Cheer Board and volunteered at Siloam Mission.

On Dec. 9, Winnipeg Kia partnered with Energy 106 in the Hope for the Holidays radio remote from Grant Park Shopping Centre collecting food and donations for Winnipeg Harvest.

Gerry Gordon Mazda again donated a van for December as well as between $1,200 and $1,300, which was raised at the annual Christmas party, to the Salvation Army.

On Dec. 13, ADESA Winnipeg raised close to $20,000 at the second annual “Fund a Food Basket” fundraiser for Winnipeg Harvest. Staff members, dealers and others in the industry were invited to contribute $100 a person per basket. ADESA transportation department staff also helped deliver gift baskets and hampers.

The Steinbach dealers raised funds at their Christmas parties for the South East Helping Hands Food Bank.

The Murray Auto Group’s Brandon stores (Murray Chevrolet Cadillac Buick GMC and Brandon Chrysler Dodge) provided three large families with hampers and presents, held a 50-50 draw at the annual Christmas party with funds going to Christmas Cheer Board, donated $1 from every customer oil change throughout the year to Samaritan House and the Helping Hands Soup Kitchen and, once again partnered with Enterprise Rent-A-Car to provide a vehicle for the month of December for the Westman Christmas dinner organizers. (As many as 5,000 Brandon residents participate in this annual Christmas dinner, which all Brandon dealers support.)

The dealership also entered a float in Brandon’s annual Christmas parade manned by staff and their children.

Kelleher Ford in Brandon delivered five half-ton truckloads of food to Samaritan House. The dealership carried out the food drive in conjunction with three Brandon-area schools.

The Forman dealerships in Brandon — Forman Honda and Forman Mazda — made a substantial donation to the United Way from funds donated by staff and matched by the ownership.

In Portage la Prairie, Craig Dunn Motor City donated a hamper through the Salvation Army and lent a delivery vehicle to the Sally Ann for the weeks leading up to Christmas.

In Gimli, Chudd’s Chrysler, Giesbrecht and Sons and Gimli Auto teamed up to provide the Christmas Cheer Board with drivers and vehicles to deliver hampers to needy families for Christmas. They also supported the community’s Red Nose program. Also, Giesbrecht and Sons made a monetary donation for an annual seniors Christmas dinner in Riverton and a donation to the Gimli Evergreen Foundation toward their Christmas hamper fund.

For the second year, Chudd’s Powersports donated jackets to Siloam Mission. Chudd’s donated one jacket to Siloam for every Drift jacket sold in the store in December. Last year, Chudd’s donated 150 winter jackets to Siloam Mission.

And to all Manitoba’s auto dealer and to all my readers, I wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!


Dealer of the week

Sales rep: Andrew Hryniuk

Dealership: Gauthier Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram

No. of years: Three months at Gauthier Chrysler, 14 years in auto sales

Favourite model: Dodge Challenger

Why: “The Challenger is the fastest car out there,” Hryniuk says. “It’s a great car for Sunday-night cruising in the summers.”