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U.S. Relief Agencies to Receive Four Customized Ford Transit Vans for Help in Natural Disaster Response

U.S. Relief Agencies to Receive Four Customized Ford Transit Vans for Help in Natural Disaster Response

  • Ford Fund announces four winners in the Ford Disaster Relief Mobility Challenge, expanding its commitment to nonprofits focused on disaster relief and recovery
  • The Ford Disaster Relief Mobility Challenge gives organizations an opportunity to design and win a Ford Transit specially outfitted for their unique community needs
  • Supporting nonprofit disaster relief efforts is an essential part of Ford Motor Company Fund’s mission to strengthen communities and make people’s lives better

DEARBORN, Dec. 3, 2018 – Ford Motor Company Fund is helping communities cope with increasingly destructive natural disasters by awarding grants for four specially equipped Ford Transit vans to nonprofit winners of the Ford Disaster Relief Mobility Challenge.

The challenge asks nonprofit organizations how they would customize a Ford Transit to fit a particular disaster response need in their community. The 2018 winners listed below cover critical disaster-prone areas. They were selected based on their unique utilization of the Transit for disaster relief work, ability to quickly deploy the vehicle across the country, and intended use for the van when not responding to a natural disaster.

  • Empact Northwest, Kingston, Washington – Transit will be outfitted with communications equipment, emergency lighting, swift water, flood and other rescue gear; and will allow Empact to transport a rescue boat as needed. When not on disaster duty, the van will be used for first responder training and community education.
  • Mercy Chefs, Portsmouth, Virginia – Transit will be used with the organization’s mobile kitchens as a food delivery and distribution van. The vehicle will double the organization’s current capacity and allow them to serve up to 20,000 people a day. With the ability to access hard-to-reach areas, the van will deliver meals from community kitchens when not deployed for disaster relief.
  • Second Harvest Food Bank of Greater New Orleans and Acadiana – By customizing their Transit van with a kitchen, service window and awning, the nonprofit will be able to reheat and serve meals. It will also be equipped with communications tools, such as two-way radios, antenna and a satellite phone w/ outside speaker. When not deployed for a disaster, the vehicle will address food insecurity among children and senior citizens.
  • The Salvation Army Team Emergency Radio Network (SATERN), Kansas City, Missouri – Vehicle will support The Salvation Army disaster response operations with a variety of communications When not deployed for disaster relief, the Transit will provide communications support for other nonprofits.

“This challenge combines Ford’s strength as a mobility company with the courage and know-how of experienced disaster response professionals, whose modifications will enhance their ability to get critical supplies to where they’re needed most,” said Jim Vella, president, Ford Motor Company Fund. “Natural disasters show nature at its worst, but thankfully, they bring out the best in our first responders, medical personnel, and even our neighbors who pitch in to help when danger is all around them.”

Ford will work with the selected organizations over the next few months to ensure the vehicles are ready to respond when natural disasters strike in 2019 and beyond. There are now seven challenge-winning Ford vehicles developed with input from first responders and nonprofit partners. The original three challenge winners were deployed in 2017 to assist disaster relief efforts in the wake of hurricanes and flooding across the southern United States.

Ford has a long history of responding to natural disasters with vehicles, volunteers and financial assistance. Over the past five years, Ford has donated more than 50 emergency response vehicles. Together with our dealers and employees, Ford and Ford Fund have mobilized thousands of volunteers and contributed more than $5 million to aid response and recovery in the U.S. and abroad.

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About Ford Motor Company Fund

Ford Motor Company Fund is the philanthropic arm of Ford Motor Company. Established in 1949, Ford Fund invests in transformational programs that advance innovation, empower people, promote social mobility and improve community prosperity. Ford Fund works with local and global partners to create opportunities in education, encourage safe driving, enlist employee volunteers and enrich community life. Ford Fund’s signature programs include Ford Blue Oval Scholars, Ford College Community Challenge, Ford Driving Dreams, Ford Driving Skills for Life, Ford Next Generation Learning and the Ford Volunteer Corps. For more information, visit, or join us on Facebook @FordFund and Twitter @FordFund.

About Empact Northwest

Empact Northwest is a U.S. based nonprofit technical rescue organization. Their mission is to provide immediate disaster response, rescue training, and community preparedness for under-served communities in the United States and worldwide.

About Mercy Chefs

Mercy Chefs is a faith-based, nonprofit disaster relief and humanitarian organization. We exist to serve professionally prepared meals for victims, volunteers and first responders in national emergencies and natural disasters, and are committed to using our resources to meet the needs of others.

About Second Harvest Food Bank:

Second Harvest Food Bank is leading the fight against hunger in South Louisiana by providing food access, advocacy, education, and disaster response. Second Harvest provides food to more than 700 community partners across 23 parishes. Together, we make up the largest charitable anti-hunger network in the state. With help from our communities, we can make food security a reality for every household in South Louisiana. Second Harvest Food Bank is an affiliated ministry of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New Orleans, a member of Feeding America, and a United Way partner agency.

About The Salvation Army Team Emergency Radio Network (SATERN):

The Salvation Army Team Emergency Radio Network (SATERN) is a volunteer organization of licensed amateur radio operators. SATERN was established June 26, 1988 to provide communication for The Salvation Army during disaster relief efforts and other events. SATERN functions as part of The Salvation Army Emergency Disaster Services (EDS) ministry. The EDS ministry of The Salvation Army responds to disasters to provide relief to those in need of food, water, shelter, emotional and spiritual care.