Ford Transits From Borgman Help Volunteers Work More Efficiently
Contrary to popular belief, gifts aren’t always delivered for Christmas morning by a team of reindeer pulling a sleigh. In the case of the Marine Toys For Tots organization in Grand Rapids, MI, those gifts will need to be picked up from drop-off points all over Kent County, sorted, then given for children in need throughout West Michigan – all before Christmas.
This is a monumental task, and Borgman sought to help make the job easier by loaning two Ford Transit Vans to the local Marine Corps Reserve Unit and volunteers for making toy pickup runs. I met up with Pete and Ben, two volunteers for Toys For Tots, and they invited me to follow along as they made their pickup run in a new Ford Transit-250.
We trekked across town to the Toys For Tots distribution center – an unassuming warehouse where donated toys are sorted and re-distributed. When we arrived, one of the guys remarked how quickly the van heated up despite being so large – a blessing on a cold, rainy morning like this. They were also excited about the sheer size of the cargo bay, which was tall enough for me to stand upright inside of it and lined with slip-resistant flooring – another thing I was grateful for given today’s weather.
A Peek Inside The Toys For Tots Warehouse
Soon after, we’d be back on the road and filling the spacious van with toy donations, but first, I was invited into the warehouse to see the “North Pole” of the Toys For Tots operation. This is also where I met Rich, who has been a volunteer at Toys For Tots for many years after his friend asked him to come lend a hand.
“I said I’d help out just this one year, and that was 27 years ago!”
Rich tells me that this facility serves Kent County, but will also help neighboring Montcalm and Ionia Counties where donations may be fewer. He says that while the primary focus is on serving the community in which the toys are donated, he believes that spreading holiday cheer shouldn’t stop on county borders and that every child deserves something to open on Christmas morning. Soon, this warehouse will be full of toys from donation points all over the city, and when it empties again, thousands of spirits will be made brighter.
Our Experience Picking Up Toys In The Ford Transit-250 Van
But, this warehouse isn’t going to fill up by itself. As Pete and Ben climbed back into the Transit-250, it was time to start the pick-up run. After a 15-minute drive on the expressway, we arrived at our first stop outside of town and got to work loading up the van.
It was heartwarming seeing the number of toys people brought in for the cause, even in small local shops like the one pictured to the left. We visited a number of different businesses, ranging from restaurants, retail outlets, antique stores, offices, and even an education center to collect donations.
After bagging up the toys at each site to make them easier to transport and protect them from the rain, I turned back to look at the Transit’s cargo bay. By then, it wasn’t even close to full – and that’s good news! This means Pete and Ben could visit more places than they normally could before going back to the warehouse, and that saves a significant amount of both time and fuel – both of which are crucial to non-profits and businesses.
How’d The Ford Transit Handle “Santa Sleigh” Duty?
Before I parted ways with Pete and Ben, we talked for a moment about their thoughts on the Transit-250. They both loved the spacious cargo bay and roomy cabin, the smooth ride quality, and that there was much less road noise than they’d expect from a van of this size. The 3.5L EcoBoost V6 also gave them responsive, on-demand torque when they needed it, such as when merging out onto a busy road or climbing a steep driveway. Being able to stand upright in the cargo bay is a huge plus, as is the side-loading or rear cargo doors – as we were never sure which side we’d be able to use when making stops.
Borgman Ford in Grand Rapids: Thanking All Volunteers!
First, we’d like to thank everyone who visited us or your usual donation site and gave toys this year! All donations, both big and small, do add up and make a big difference to children in need across West Michigan. We’d also like to thank all of the volunteers and Marines who put in the work and make Toys For Tots possible year after year. If you’d like to learn more, or want to get involved, visit The Grand Rapids Toys For Tots Website today!
For more information on the Ford Transit Vans, or other Ford Commercial Vehicles, please feel free to Contact Us!