As everyone in the area knows, Fun and Friends Senior Citizen's Center in Thayer has been struggling, to say the least.
The center received a surprise gift last week that could not be more needed or appreciated.
"I called Loren Barton at Curt's Cars to see about buying a used van. We had a limited amount of money and our vans that we deliver homebound meals in are just falling apart due to the long routes they make every day," said center Administrator Sheila Smith.
Smith said Barton wasn't in but talked to employee Bill Hendrix who works at the used car lot and they didn't seem to have anything the center could afford.
Barton came to the center and said he had a van he was going to donate to Fun and Friends. It is a 2003 Dodge Grand Caravan. "I donated this van to the center in memory of two great guys who both just recently passed away, Curt Young and Dale Huddleston. They both gave a lot of time and money to this community," Barton said.
The center runs five meal routes a day, approximately 200 miles. The only way they keep their vehicles running or buying a different one when needed is through fundraisers and donations. They deliver 8,000 meals a month throughout Oregon County.
They travel to Myrtle and Koshkonong and two routes in the city.
The meals the center delivers are prepared by South West Missouri Office on Aging employees but delivered by volunteers.
"Meals- on- Wheels is a wonderful program. I donated the van in these two men's memory because they have given so much to the community. I just hope I can be as good to our community as they have," Barton said.
Barton was very persistant that other businesses that have been successful also need to give back to the community. "This was done in the spirit of giving," he said.
Barton estimated the van to be worth about $6,500.
"This is not about me and it is not about my business. God has blessed me richly my entire life and we need to help others," he said.
Smith, the few employees at Fun and Friends and all the volunteers are appreciative and very excited about the new van. "We can't say enough about what this means to our center," Smith said.
Barton was very humble about the donation. "The only thing you take with you when you leave this world is what you left behind," Barton said.