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WNY Ford dealers donate vans to three non-profits

The Ford Dealers of Western New York will donate vans to Cradle Beach, the Buffalo Police Athletic League and the Rural Transit Service, through the Ford Friendship Express program that provides Ford Transit vans to nonprofit organizations.

This year’s donations were announced Tuesday at the Buffalo Transportation Pierce-Arrow Museum.

“Ford Friendship Express allows us to support the incredible local organizations who are making a difference in our neighborhoods every day,” said Scott Bieler, chairman of the program’s selection committee, in a statement. “To help them do what they do best, we are providing them with what we do best – dependable and versatile transportation.”

Since launching in 1996, Ford Friendship Express has donated 74 vans to 68 organizations, representing $2 million in investment by the Ford Dealers of Western New York.

Each year, the dealers group sorts through dozens of applications from non-profits in a territory covering seven counties in Western New York and two counties in Pennsylvania. Nearly 100 organizations applied for this year’s donations. Three recipients are typically chosen each year.

Cradle Beach said it will put its van to use right away, for a planned trip to Washington, D.C., in June for Project SOAR participants. The PAL and Rural Transit Service said the vans will help them meet the need for more transportation for the people they serve.