The gift of giving |

The gift of giving

Steve Ranson
Jessilyn Strom writes out another donation check as part of Fallon Auto Mall's Pay It Forward campaign.

Christmas will be brighter for many senior citizens who live in the Lahontan Valley because of the generosity of one major business and hundreds of people who purchased automobiles in 2015.

Fallon Auto Mall’s Pay It Forward program, now in its fifth year, donated $41,800 to 14 nonprofit organizations on Friday in what has become the glistening angel on top of the Christmas tree.

“This program is tremendous,” said Fallon Mayor Ken Tedford, whose Mayor’s Youth Foundation received a $1,215 donation. “Since day one this is a tremendous program that gives many dollars to organizations. “

Tedford said Pay It Forward speaks for itself.

“This program touches so many families,” Tedford added.

From March through November, General Manager Tim Mitchell said customers who purchase either a new or pre-owned vehicle may select a charity from a list of 14 and have Fallon Auto Mall donate to that organization.

“We’re $10,000 better than last year and had our best year so far,” Mitchell pointed out.

In its first year, Pay It Forward donated $20,900, but over the years the amount slowly increased to where the longtime auto dealership has donated $149,950.

“It amazes me every year,” Mitchell said of the number of customers who want to donate to an organization.

This year, Fallon Auto Mall reduced the number of organizations form20 to 14, but because of Toyota’s generosity, the automaker doubled the amount if an organization received at least $2,500.

The Churchill County Senior Center received a check for $5,450, drawing praise from director Jamie Lee.

“I was pleasantly surprised because we have to fundraise a significant part of our budget,” she said after receiving a check. “We have more demand than funding.”

Lee said the donation will help with the delivery of its Meals on Wheels program.

Lee’s counterpart at the Fernley Senior Center received $1,500. Director Debbie Stevens said the Fernley facility also used the donation to help with its March for Meals program.

Shannon Goodrick, director of the Fallon Youth Club, was almost speechless because of the $5,400 donation.

“I love the way the auto mall allows the purchaser the opportunity to give back,” she said.

When she heard about the match from Toyota, Goodrick said Toyota showed a very thoughtful corporate side. She said the donation will assist with the funding during the first part of t he year when FYC experiences a cash-flow crunch.

“It helps fill that hole to make the rest of the year run smoothly,” she said.

Newly selected Churchill County Museum director Dan Ingram said he has never seen a program like Pay It Forward. He said the $1,350 will be used for its Discovery Room and digital initiatives such as upgrading the museum’s website with scanned photos, oral history, transcripts and a newspaper collection.

“It’s wonderful,” Ingram said, sporting a wide grin while holding the check.

Both the Churchill Animal Protection Society and the Fallon Animal Welfare Group each received $1,700 and $1,750 respectively. Rita Hand from CAPS said the additional funding will help the veterinarian account which has dwindled this year because of more cats and doges being spayed and neutered and more shot given to the animals.

The annual donations don’t surprise Tedford.

“This community is so giving. It’s a tremendous community that helps,” Tedford said. “Not only do people help during this season but they also donate throughout the year by giving to families in need and especially to the children.”