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Nonprofit picks up van won on Facebook

Kevin Curran, New York regional director of sales

Kevin Curran, New York regional director of sales for Toyota, presents Laura Parker and Michael Smith, executive director of the Association for Children with Down Syndrome, with the key to the ACDS's new Toyota Sienna. The organization won the minivan on Oct. 26, 2011 in the car company's 100 Cars for Good giveaway. Photo Credit: T.C. McCarthy

Seaford’s Loretta Clark will be riding in style to some of her nail appointments, shopping sprees and bowling excursions thanks to a donation from Toyota.

Clark is a client of the Association for Children with Down Syndrome, a Plainview-based nonprofit dedicated to assisting Long Islanders with the condition. In July, ACDS was a winner in Toyota’s "100 Cars for Good" charity giveaway, in which the public voted 100 consecutive days on Facebook for a favorite charity to receive a car.

Officials from the nonprofit picked up a new Sienna minivan from Westbury Toyota Wednesday. Clark, 35, couldn’t wait to check it out, sitting in the driver’s seat for a few minutes before moving to the back and enjoying all of the room.

The van comes complete with a navigation system, six independent seats and a motorized passenger chair to help disabled clients get in and out of the vehicle. ACDS Executive Director Michael Smith said the new Toyota  initially is going to a group residence in Merrick, where a client recently had hip surgery; it is one of eight ACDS locations on Long Island.

Each of the group residences has one or two vehicles assigned to them. The organization puts about 30,000 miles each year on each of its vehicles, so the new Sienna, with its six-year, 100,000 mile service plan is a big help, according to Smith.

“It allows us to use our funds in other ways,” he said. “This vehicle with the warranty they gave us is worth almost $50,000, and in this day and age and in this economy, that’s money we can put to use.”

Kevin Curran, the New York regional sales manager for Toyota, who was on the planning committee for the giveaway, was in attendance Wednesday. He said he’s 99 percent sure Toyota will do something like "100 Cars for Good" again.

Curran explained, “When we do this, it’s on the computer, on paper. It doesn’t really hit you until you get here and you see the smiling faces.”

Kevin Curran, left, New York regional director of sales for Toyota, presents Michael Smith, the executive director of the Association for Children with Down Syndrome, and Lauren Parker, an ACDS client, with the key to ACDS's new Toyota Sienna. The nonprofit won the minivan in the car company's "100 Cars for Good" charity giveaway.

 
 

Kevin Curran, left, New York regional director of sales for Toyota, presents Michael Smith, the executive director of the Association for Children with Down Syndrome, and Lauren Parker, an ACDS client, with the key to ACDS's new Toyota Sienna. The nonprofit won the minivan in the car company's "100 Cars for Good" charity giveaway.

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