Employees from Mercedes-Benz USA (MBUSA) and its Southern Region Office in Jacksonville with assistance from a local dealership, Mercedes-Benz of Jacksonville, recently delivered a Mercedes-Benz Sprinter Passenger Van to Kim's Open Door, an area nonprofit whose volunteers serve the city's at-risk children by providing them with access to mentorship, educational assistance, the arts and local community events.
Kim's Open Door acquired the pre-owned Sprinter with financial assistance from MBUSA to offset any associated costs. Together with Mercedes-Benz of Jacksonville, employees from the company's Southern Region Office and its Mercedes-Benz Vans team worked to pinpoint the most suitable vehicle to buy. From there, the Sprinter was shipped to Mercedes-Benz USA where its team of Jacksonville- based engineers and technicians donated more than 300 hours of their personal time to refurbish the vehicle to an optimal mechanical condition. Concurrently, employees at Mercedes-Benz of Jacksonville donated their time and resources to repair damage to the van's body.
"Mercedes-Benz USA, its employees and dealer partners are proud to be a part of the Jacksonville community. We are grateful for every opportunity, big or small, to lend a helping hand to those dedicated to making a positive impact in the lives of our city's most vulnerable children," said Mike Nolte, general manager, southern region, Mercedes-Benz USA. "We would like to thank our employees, especially our Vans team, and our partners at Mercedes-Benz of Jacksonville who generously and selflessly volunteered their personal time and expertise to help make this possible."
The newly acquired Sprinter Passenger Van will help the Jacksonville-based organization distribute meals to families battling food insecurity as well as double its capacity to transport children in the community, many of whom are recently settled refugees, to and from activities.
"Our employees noticed that the volunteers at Kim's Open Door was in need of affordable and reliable transportation for the children. We realized our resources and expertise, especially in commercial vans, could really benefit them," said Christian Barwig, department manager, Mercedes-Benz Vans, whose team in Jacksonville helped spearhead the effort. "I'm really proud of the way we came together, not only as Mercedes-Benz employees, but also as members of the community to help such a worthwhile organization."
The Sprinter is the most recent work of "MBUSA Curbside Caring," an initiative of the company's Greatness Lives Here community outreach program. The luxury carmaker's support of organizations such as Kim's Open Door is one of the many efforts it has undertaken in recent years to assist communities in which MBUSA employees live and work. The company is donating 100 meals per week to Kim's Open Door during the 2020-2021 school year to help combat hunger among students participating in the organization's reading program and their siblings at home. Last year, MBUSA prepared 2,500 meals for needy families in Jacksonville and enabled thousands more to be delivered by donating the use of 13 Mercedes-Benz Sprinters to organizations that feed the city's most vulnerable residents.
"We are thankful for Mercedes-Benz USA and their employees whose continued support has helped us provide nutrition along with education and the arts for hundreds of underserved children and families in Jacksonville," said Kim Bogart, founder of Kim's Open Door. "Kids need our services now more than ever and this new-to-us Sprinter van will enable our team to increase the number of families we serve."