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Earlier this month, C-TRAN handed over the keys of 11 former C-VAN vehicles that are now being used by six local nonprofits to help those in need.

The vans were awarded as part of VanGo, a surplus vehicle grant program that helps meet the transportation needs of social service organizations. As the first group of vans was sent out, C-TRAN hosted a gathering to celebrate the recipients and the important work they do. Some could hardly contain their excitement.

“It’s tremendous,” says Rekah Strong, executive director of Educational Opportunities for Children and Families. “We do not have a lot of unrestricted dollars to spend on things like vehicles.”

EOCF is a Vancouver-based nonprofit that provides early childhood education and family support programs across Southwest Washington. The organization serves more than 2,000 families in a given year, and covers a large area that includes Clark, Pacific and Cowlitz County. EOCF received two vans through the grant program, and that will go a long way in helping families in need access those services, Strong says.

“One of the biggest things that gets in the way of parents participating in their children’s education is transportation,” she says.

Rekah Strong

For Hands of Favor, which also received two vehicles thanks to the grant program, the vans are an opportunity to expand its mission of spreading God’s love by providing free haircuts and other services at dozens of sites around the community. Says Derek Thompson, Hands of Favor’s executive director: “We provide haircuts, but we love people first.”

The vehicles may open up new doors for Hands of Favor, Thompson says. The organization recently asked community members for other ideas on how to use the vans. In other words, he says, “How can we make the community better with what C-TRAN so generously gave us?”

C-TRAN is proud to partner with these great organization to support their valuable work. Here’s the full list of recipients:

  • Vancouver Elite provides youth mentorship and character-building programs through athletics and community service. Its van will support its mission by providing greater access to community events and volunteer activities that serve the greater Vancouver area.
  • Greater Faith provides transportation services to its elderly and disabled members for church and other needs. Its vans will allow better access to local transitional housing facilities, nursing homes and a variety of other outreach ministry programs.
  • Hands of Favor pursues love in action by providing free haircuts and other community services. Its vans will be used to expand that ministry and reach more of the underserved low-income community.
  • The Father’s House provides transportation services for its adult members and youth to attend church and youth ministry, as well as other needs within the community. Its vans will assist with the transportation needs of seniors as well as its teen members who perform various outreach tasks in the community. 
  • Educational Opportunities to Children and Families provides early childhood education and family support programs in Southwest Washington. The vans will allow the EOCF to more easily reach the families they serve in Clark, Cowlitz and Pacific counties, including rural areas with limited transportation options.
  • Angels of God provides food to the homeless and transportation to shelters. Its vans will support that work and help people access the services, food and shelters they need.

Also partnering in the program is Cascadia Technical Academy, which has offered to provide maintenance of the vehicles through its Diesel Technology Program to any interested participant.

The VanGo program donates vans that would otherwise be decommissioned and sold at auction. C-TRAN looks forward to continuing this program and forming partnerships with new organizations in the future. Congratulations to all recipients, and thanks for the work you do!

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