If you’re a regular Driver's Seat
reader, you already know our dealers love to give back. Time and time again, we share stories of dealerships making cash donations or meeting significant, hands-on needs in their communities. After all, at Toyota, we’re working on creating an ever-better society, and we can’t do that without the help and support of our dealers.
But when the full scope of the COVID-19 pandemic became apparent, it posed unprecedented challenges for many of the communities where we do business. Hospitals overrun. Schools closed. Businesses shut down. Families isolated.
Nevertheless, one by one, Toyota dealers across the country pitched in to help.
Dealers like Sand Mountain Toyota in Albertville, Alabama. Schools in the dealer’s community shut down in mid-March to help slow the spread of COVID-19. Unfortunately, without a school-provided lunch, many children in the community could go hungry. Sand Mountain Toyota answered the need and now offers free lunches to children three days a week until school reopens.
“We would love to have the kids come, but if parents or guardians come to get lunches for their kids, that will be OK,” says Mark Brickey, president of Sand Mountain Toyota.
Doing More -- Sand Mountain Toyota associates prepared meals for local children in need. The COVID-19 pandemic closed local schools, meaning many children would miss their daily meals. Sand Mountain Toyota stepped in to fill the gap and provide free meals. Editor’s note: this photo was taken before widespread social distancing was advised.
Brickey is just one of several dealers doing their part to help during the COVID-19 crisis. Here are just a few examples of the nationwide response from our dealer family:
- Beaver Toyota of St. Augustine (St. Augustine, Florida) is offering free interior vehicle disinfecting services to the local sheriff's department.
- High Country Toyota (Scottsboro, Alabama) installed bird feeders in the courtyard at Cloverdale Manors, a local rehabilitation and nursing center, so that anyone under lockdown will have something nice to look at outside their windows.
Spreading Joy -- High Country Toyota associates installed bird feeders at a local nursing home, so residents could enjoy bird watching while practicing social distancing.
- Larry H. Miller Dealerships offered a complimentary concierge vehicle pickup and drop-off service for customers with service appointments in an effort to help those whose health might be at risk, and those who are providing critical services get to work.
- Toyota of Lincoln Park and Toyota of Lincolnwood (Chicago, Illinois) are offering a free oil change, along with pick-up and drop-off service within five miles of the dealerships to all first responders, health care workers and law enforcement. They also partnered with the Greater Chicago Food Depository and are matching all donations up to $30,000. The donations can be made through any of the dealerships’ websites as well as through the Depository’s website.
- Dahl Toyota (Winona, Minnesota) created a $50,000 Team Member Fund, available to employees who are struggling financially at this time.
- Estabrook Toyota (Moss Point, Mississippi) delivered “Backpack Buddy” lunches to kids who are out of school due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Kinsel Toyota (Beaumont, Texas) is offering free grocery delivery for anyone age 65 or up. Customers just place an order at a local grocery store, then call the dealership. Grocery orders are dropped at the customer’s door, free of charge.
- Vandergriff Toyota (Arlington, Texas) shopping is online or by appointment only, with most customer consultations happening by video chat. Test drives are prohibited, but customers can return a car within three days, no questions asked. The dealership is offering free oil changes for first responders; they are $9.95 for anyone else.
- Toyota of New Orleans (New Orleans, Louisiana) is providing free meals to anyone in need, no questions asked, through the Giving Hope Foundation.
- Greg LeBlanc Toyota (Houma, Louisiana) installed “Stay Safe!” billboards across the community.
- Lexus Southern Area: Lexus of Memphis is supporting local restaurants by buying gift cars for customers; Houston LDA is donating $10,000 to local restaurant workers; Sterling McCall is offering $39 oil changes and $25 gas cards for service guests.
- Lexus Eastern Area: Thompson Lexus donated 80% of their gloves and 100% of their masks to local hospital workers.
By Kristen Orsborn
- Lexus Central Area: O’Brien Lexus of Peoria setup a GoFundMe page to raise money to order food from local bars and restaurants (fund at $6,000). The food purchased will be given to medical workers as well as local hospitals. Lexus of Akron/Canton has partnered with the Akron Children’s Hospital to support their local medical staff on the front lines of the pandemic. The dealership is offering complimentary pick-up and delivery service for all makes and models and 10% off for any employees of the hospital.