Thursday, October 02, 2014

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Albany Damien Center in the running for new minivan

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Albany/HV: Albany Damien Center in the running for new minivan
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The Albany Damien Center is duking it out with other non-profits around the nation for a brand new set of wheels. Our Lori Chung has more on why the organization says it's something they need and why they want your help.

ALBANY, N.Y. -- "It’s being held together with scotch tape. I'm not kidding," said Perry Junjulas.

It has all the signs of a hooptie.

“So this is Big Blue. It’s a 1990 Chevy,” Junjulas said.

Maybe even a jalopy.

"It’s you stop it, you never know if it's going to start back up again," said Dorothy Nangle, Albany Damien Center Program Manager.

Holding out as the Albany Damien Center's sole transportation option for a decade.

"The truck is old,” said Kevin Fox. “It's about to conk out."

Nangle said, "We depend on this truck for a lot of things. We do food bank pickups, we do Sam’s Club, because we feed people lunch and dinner five times a week."

Now the non-profit that helps people affected by HIV and AIDS has a shot at a free new set of wheels after being named a finalist in Toyota's 100 Cars for Good contest.

“A brand new Toyota Sienna, which is just going to be absolutely incredible,” Junjulas said.

Especially considering Big Blue has more than 200,000 miles on the odometer.

Junjulas said, “It's something, first of all, that we need tremendously and we just do not have the funds to be able to buy ourselves a new vehicle."

After 10 years, Big Blue has definitely put in work, but a new van for the Damien Center can actually mean expanding services that so many people desperately need.

"To be able to help get people to the doctor if they need to go to the doctor," Junjulas said.

Not possible with Big Blue, but would be in line with the center's goal to make life easier for members who already have so much to bear.

"Computer accessibility, using the phone to make appointments and things like that," said Aaron Brock. "It's very special to me."

The key to winning the contest: Scoring more votes on Facebook this Sunday than the other finalists.

"Between 10 a.m. and 12 midnight, everyone can vote once on Facebook,” Junjulas said.

Staff and members here are on board to spread the word and give Big Blue the rest she's earned.

If you would like to vote for the Damien Center, you can find "100 Cars for Good" on Facebook.

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