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After thrift store van stolen and damaged, Surrey dealership helps out firefighters’ charitable society

The Community Thrift Store van was stolen in South Surrey in December
Members of the Surrey Fire Fighters’ Charitable Society picked up their new van from Mainland Ford in Surrey Wednesday (Jan. 27, 2021) after the society’s old van was stolen and damaged. (Submitted photo: Dylan Van Rooyen)

While the Surrey Fire Fighters’ Charitable Society’s thrift store van was a write-off, a local dealership stepped up to help the society continue its work.

The charitable society’s van, which transports donations to the Newton thrift store from Fire Hall 17 (15329 32nd Ave.), was stolen “sometime after 7 p.m.” on Dec. 29, 2020 in South Surrey,” Dylan Van Rooyen previously told the Now-Leader. It was found the following day in Langley.

READ ALSO: Theft of Surrey firefighters’ thrift store van ‘disheartening’, Dec. 31, 2020

Shortly after the van was stolen – and recovered – Van Rooyen said the charitable society was contacted by Scott Brown, the general manager at Mainland Ford in Surrey.

Van Rooyen said Scott told the society to let him know how the dealership could help.

“I said I don’t know what we need and we might be lucky and it might be repairable,” said Van Rooyen told the Now-Leader Wednesday (Jan. 27).

But that wasn’t the case, he said, with the news coming last week that the van was a write-off. He added the van had been in “some sort of accident, nothing major.

“Once we recovered the van, they realized the catalytic converters were also cut out, so between the spray paint, the damage to the van, door ignition and catalytic converters, the van was written off,” Van Rooyen said.

He said he then reached out to Brown to find out if Mainland Ford would still be able to help.

And on Wednesday, members of the charitable society picked up the “basically brand new” 2020 Ford Transit van, which was “well, well below cost,” Van Rooyen said.

He added it allows the society to continue its work, “without a financial impact to our fundraising efforts.”

Brown said when he heard the van had been stolen, he just wanted to be able to help out the society in some way.

He added the dealership “decided to do a venture where we donated the vehicle, so that they could get around to do the good that they do.”

“We’re going to look after all the maintenance costs and anything that’s required on the vehicle,” said Brown, adding the society is making some payments with money from the write-off. “The rest is covered by us.

“We just want to make sure that they support the thrift shops. They have to make sure they get their donations delivered so that they can help other people. I figured they could use a hand to do that.”

Meantime, Van Rooyen said the charitable society’s board members mentioned that they have to think about whoever stole the van, as well.

“Sometimes they’re not doing it for all the wrong reasons, sometimes they’re just trying to survive themselves,” he noted.

The thrift store is a partnership between the firefighters and the Surrey Hospice Society. The store helps to raise funds for the two charities, and Van Rooyen said it’s also used as a resource “in the event somebody is in need of essential items due to the impacts of an emergency incident.”

“I don’t know if it’ll ever reach the correct people, but if there are people in need and are partaking in that kind of activity because they’re missing something …we would actually help people that needed clothing that might need a warm sweater or a jacket.

“If there are people that are out there struggling and need some support, the thrift store isn’t just about raising money. It’s also just about supporting the community.”

READ ALSO: Surrey Fire Fighters Charitable Society looking at up to $250K-donation shortfall amid COVID-19, May 18, 2020

READ ALSO: Three thefts in a month ‘unsettling’ for Surrey firefighters charity, Sept. 24, 2019

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Lauren Collins

About the Author: Lauren Collins

I'm a provincial reporter for Black Press Media's national team, after my journalism career took me across B.C. since I was 19 years old.
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