Every year this time, the Henning family and Fallon Ford-Toyota bring added cheer to many nonprofit organizations that serve thousands of people throughout Northern Nevada.
It was a special day last week when the longtime auto dealership gave away $43,650 to 15 organizations through its annual Pay It Forward program. The program donates $50 from each vehicle sale to the buyer’s choice of a nonprofit group from a specified list. Since 2011, General Manager Tim Mitchell said the company has donated $331,500, and Mayor Ken Tedford said their annual program of giving is what makes a community great.
“This is a wonderful program,” Tedford said before accepting a check for the Mayor’s Youth Fund. “This money that goes back to these various organizations is tremendous. It uplifts their budgets and, in turn, helps the various residents in the community.”
Tedford said he has the highest regard for the Henning family and the annual donations.
“All it does it improves the quality of life for our residents, which is my goal and also the Henning’s goal,” Tedford said.
Mitchell is passionate of the Pay It Forward program, which begins in March and extends through early December. Since its inception nine seasons ago, he said the community’s response has been outstanding. In fact, the amount of donations has more than doubled since the first Pay It Forward.
“The last five years have been really good,” he said.
Mitchell said the Junior ROTC program at Churchill County High School received $5,050 to help with their activities, while he has seen how the Renown Children’s Network improved its quality of care. The Reno Ronald McDonald House received more than $4,000 to help families living 30 miles outside the Reno-Sparks area who must stay near the reginal medical center.
Executive Director Laurie Gorris said the Ronald McDonald House provides comfort and care for families who want to be near their loved ones receiving medical attention.
“The donation helps offset the costs for families,” she said. “All donations stay locally.”
Matt Vaughan, the events and marketing coordinator, said the donation, for example, will provide for 25 nights of lodging for a family.
Gorris said many families from the Fallon area have stayed at the Reno Ronald McDonald House.
The check for $1,700 is coming at the right time for the Fallon Youth Cub, which will open its doors at a new facility next year. Executive Director Shannon Goodrick said the money will be earmarked for the additional costs of operating in a larger facility. She anticipates the FYC will grow in attendance from its current 80 students.
The William N. Pennington Life Center will use its $5,650 toward the Meals on Wheels program. Director Lisa Erquiaga said she was overwhelmed with the community’s generosity. The center feed 200 seniors with daily hot meals.
“We are so appreciative when people come here,” she said of Fallon Ford Toyota’s customers. “They pick us … we love it.”
Mitchell said he has seen how the annual donation helps Domestic Violence Intervention. DVI was able to use previous donations to buy a van for its clients to take them to appointments and to the grocery store.
Overall, 2019 has been a good year for director Karen Moessner and her volunteers. The Churchill County paid off its mortgage on DVI’s shelter which has been turned over to the group.
“We’ve had more people call this year to donate money and items for the shelter,” she said.
Moessner also thanked the city of Fallon for replacing the furnace in the shelter and for installing new siding and an air conditioner.
In addition to checks being handed out to nonprofit groups, Mitchell said customers also designated $2,700 to be distributed among three families in need.