Last month, the Franciscan Charities Annual Toy Drive provided toys to nearly 1,000 smiling children in Newark. Volunteers dedicated many hours to planning and preparing for this special day. Supporters donated much needed funding and toys to make the day a success.

Operating such a large event can be challenging, but it’s certainly very rewarding. One of our biggest challenges faced each year is the transportation logistics for large quantities of toys. This year, we had help from a new charitable program from Maplecrest Ford Lincoln called Maplecrest Moves Charities. Read on to find out more about this wonderful initiative!

What is Maplecrest Moves Charities?

In a new twist on charitable giving, local auto dealership Maplecrest Ford Lincoln of Union, has retrofitted a 2016 Ford Transit with reinforced flooring and siding, designed cool graphics and created Maplecrest Moves Charities to provide needed transportation resources and logistics for non-profits in Northern New Jersey.

Operating on an as-needed basis, Maplecrest Moves Charities provides a driver and van to non-profits for free when they need to move equipment, items and goods from one location to another. “We understand that many non-profits that aid, protect, embrace, cherish and fund those in need, operate with limited assets,” Stephen Giordano, President of Maplecrest Ford Lincoln said. “Maplecrest Moves Charities strives to help non-profits save money and time by filling a needed resource gap in transportation.”
Local charities contact Jen Miller, Maplecrest Ford Lincoln’s Head of Brand Transformation and Consumer Experience and program creator, arranges a driver to pick-up and deliver items, like food, furniture and toys, at a mutually agreeable time. Charities must provide proof of its non-profit status and arrange for volunteers to move the items in and out of the vehicle.

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For years, Miller and Giordano noticed that many non-profits asked the dealership to donate a van – or two – to move goods from one place to another. “They didn’t need the van often,” Miller said, “rather occasionally, maybe a few times a year to move “stuff,” like toys during the holidays, canned goods for a food bank or furniture for displaced families following fires.” Miller began to probe further. Based on limited budget constraints, organizations had three choices: Pay upwards of several hundred dollars per day to rent a U-Haul-style van to cover the cost of rental insurance, mileage and gas; buy – or receive a donated – used van that would require on-going maintenance and repair, gas and insurance; or, rally volunteer SUV owners, a challenge for non-profit leaders like Cooperman. Any way they sliced it, the non-profit lost money, time and energy, and due to the bulk weight of the items, volunteers constantly had to repair the shocks and struts when offering their own cars.

Since its launch through word-of-mouth and informal networking in the fall, Maplecrest Moves Charities has worked with almost a dozen different organizations to transport goods and items that have benefitted thousands of individuals and families in Northern New Jersey.

Charitable giving has been part of Maplecrest for more than 50 years, according to Giordano. Since opening its doors in 1963 when Stephen’s late father, Fred Giordano, Sr. headed up the company, the South Orange family, which includes brother Tom, President of Maplecrest Ford of Mendham, has given considerably to a variety of local charities. In 2015, Maplecrest Ford Lincoln donated to more than 50 different non-profit organizations, including programs that impacted the arts, education, health, music, senior citizens, veterans and youth. In addition, employees donated nearly 200 hours of time and contributed to a company supported matching-gift program.

While Maplecrest will still provide financial relief on a limited basis to local charities, moving forward it will focus a majority of its corporate social impact and giving on providing transportation resources, according to Miller. “We are filling a need for the non-profit community that other companies simply cannot.”

“We’ve always tried to listen to what our customers, neighbors and friends in our local area need, and then do our best to support and grow our community with compassion,” Giordano said. ”It is a part of who we are.”

To learn more about Maplecrest Moves Charities or to register for a pick-up and delivery, contact Jen Miller at info@maplecrestmoves.org or 908-851-8536.

Maplecrest Ford Lincoln of Union, located at 2800 Springfield Avenue in Vauxhall, NJ, borders Maplewood, Millburn and Union, across from the Super Home Depot and five minutes from the Mall at Short Hills.

Contact Jen Miller at 908-964-7700 extension 5565 for more information.