Upcoming Fundraisers and How You Can Get Involved

We are working on more Fundraisers! Our next one is right around the corner on Sunday July 28th. We could still use some help with the car wash so if you can spare a couple hours let us know.

The next two we’re looking to do go hand in hand and this is where you can get involved. We are looking for your Garden Fresh Recipes to do a Gardening with a Purpose cookbook! Recipes can be sent to our gmail account driveforindependence@gmail.com.

We are looking to have  the cookbook put together for a vendor show in November sometime. We’re looking right now at November 9th or 10th or the following weekend November 16th or  17th. Once we have a location established we will come up with our fees. If you are interested just keep those dates in mind and we will give more information as it becomes available. Chris’ birthday is November 9 so we are looking a fundraiser for his birthday.

This is what we have working for now! We’ll keep everyone updated.

Inside Look: Mobility Consultant Training at Ride-Away

Inside Look: Mobility Consultant Training at Ride-Away.

By: Jesse Lore, Director of Training, Ride-Away

“What are you doing? There’s no way that’s going to fit,” said Barry L., a Mobility Consultant in the Gray, Maine Ride-Away Location.  I steadily rolled up the widest power wheelchair we had in Londonderry, NH to the 2 wheel drive Mobility SVM Wheelchair Accessible Truck.

Jeff, the Regional Sales Manager for Mobility SVM, replied, “Let’s give it a shot,” as he rolled the extra wide Storm Wheelchair up to the platform lift. April was Truck Month at Ride-Away and Jeff visited each of our 11 East Coast Locations to train our Mobility Consultants on the inner workings of Mobility SVM Trucks.

The consensus among many of our seasoned sales people was that our customers LOVE the idea of riding from their wheelchair in a pickup truck, but some have difficulty fitting their chairs in them.  Our training session was an opportunity to address that concern head-on. “Wow!” was the collective reply from the class as the wide mobility device rode clear up into the cab and, with a couple adjustments, fit rather nicely behind the wheel.

There are differences when it comes to different models of Mobility SVM’s trucks. This was an excellent opportunity for our Mobility Consultants to really learn these differences. In this instance, the wheelchair was able to fit in a 2-wheel drive truck because the transfer case does not protrude onto the wheelchair platform, giving drivers an extra couple inches of space. The class was impressed and was excited to know that these trucks are compatible with a wide range of customers and mobility devices.

What makes an excellent Mobility Consultant is knowledge: knowledge of the products, the disabilities we work with, and the funding and financing options we have available. These are just some of the many topics that are covered in our ongoing professional development opportunities.

Each month we provide a number of webinars, designed to help our Mobility Consultants increase their knowledge base. Since these are held on an online platform, it allows members from different locations to not only learn but do so while connecting with their fellow employees.

In May alone, we conducted sessions on Vehicle Appraisals, the AVV Guide, the VA, and Mobility Products and Design (MPD) equipment. June includes training sessions on our Customer Management System, Securement Systems, Medicaid and Tricare, and more! It is because of all this that we have some of the most qualified and professional Mobility Consultants in the industry.

If you’re interested in a wheelchair accessible vehicle, then let us get you connected to a Certified Mobility Consultant today.  Contact us through our website by filling out our contact form, or give us a call at 877-659-9414 to be routed directly to the store closest to you.

Gardening With Purpose

“What’s gardening have to do with your truck fundraising?”, you may ask. Well, I’m about to tell you.

Gardening became a passion of ours about 3 Years ago when our twins were about a year and a half old. We met a now good friend of ours, Steve Young. He helped us to set up an organic container garden for our back yard in the city and for the last 2 years we have had great success with it.

We were introduced to Miller Plant Farms plants by Heather Klinefelter owner of Growing Up Green. We loved the quality of plants and the great harvest we got from their plants. We found out that Miller Plant Farm is nearby and decided we would contact them in helping us with a plant fundraiser. Miller Plant farm agreed to work with us and we held our first fundraiser for Drive For Independence in March and April. We brought in $230.00 from our plant sale but since we had to buy flats of 24 of each type of plant we sold we had a ton of plants left over.

So, what happened to the left overs?, you may ask. First we donated close to 80 plants to a new community garden in our neighborhood, Hope Street Garden and Learning Lab Initiative. Even after that donation we had close to 150 plants left. Well, they  are all now planted in our back yard and we have quite the variety! We have several types of tomatoes including heirlooms. There’s Patio, Big Beef, Five Star Grape, and Romas and the heirlooms are Mr. Stripey, Mortgage Lifter, and Cherokee Purple. We also had lots of peppers left so we have  Lafayette (yellow bell), King Arthur (red bell), and Jalapeno planted. We had 2 kinds of herbs left. The Basil is being planted between the Roma tomatoes and the left over Cilantro has been planted in its own smart pot.
We now have a huge urban backyard garden and will be selling the excess produce to vendors at Penn and Market Farmers’ Market as well as Central Market to support our truck fund! We are so excited to be able to support the buy fresh, buy local movement while working towards our goal of Chris’s truck.

We strive to make our lives as natural as possible and one way we do it is by gardening. We  will love being able to help out our community while reaching our goals. Our first harvest of hot peppers came this morning and we were able to supply one of our favorite eateries at Central Market The Busy Bee with our goods. They were also one of the biggest orders in our plant sale. With local vendor support our goal seems a little less daunting.

I hope this sums up what gardening has to do with getting Chris his truck. I can’t wait to see what the summer growing months have in store for us!

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Abilities Expo Recap and testing out a Mobility SVM truck

Back on Saturday May 4th. We had the opportunity to travel to the New York Metro Abilities Expo in Edison, NJ.  We enjoyed talking with many vendors and seeing all the options for wheelchairs  and vehicles alike.

One of the highlights was Chris speaking with Frog Legs, a manufacturer of wheelchair suspension casters, that help smooth out a wheelchair’s ride. Chris reminisced with Mark, the owner of Frog Legs, about the first set of Frog Legs he got. Mark even got to see those Frog Legs still in action as we used Chris’s manual chair that day. Chris has some of the original Frog Legs so the pair were joking about how his Frog Legs are older than Mark’s 13 year old son. Right now Frog Legs is working on a custom set of forks for Chris’s Permobile M300. Nobody else has them for that specific wheelchair and it took Chris many phone calls ad research to get them done. They are currently being worked on and hopefully be on his powerchair soon!

Our main goal at the show, however, was to speak with Mobility SVM and Ride-Away.  It just so happens that their booths were side by side at the expo. That made it very convenient to speak with both companies. We first spotted the Mobility SVM booth so we stopped there first. There were a few people ahead of us testing it out so we patiently waited our turn. When it was Chris’s turn to try it out I couldn’t help but get a little teary-eyed. It was the first time in nine years I got to see him sitting on the driver’s side of a vehicle. The last time that happened was when Freedom Motors had brought their PT Cruiser driver for him to test out when we were attempting to have the state convert his PT Cruiser.  It was amazing to see him in the vehicle. Jim Groves, the executive VP of sales and marketing at Mobility SVM, helped to get Chris in for his test fit. This link is the video we took of Chris testing out the truck. Chris testing out the Motility SVM truck

We also got to to talk with John B. from Ride-Away Norristown. He was extremely helpful and encouraging. He took the time to discuss Chris’s needs and we look forward to working with him when we are ready to purchase and convert a truck for Chris.

Overall it was a great day and I learned a lot!  I’m so excited to be moving ahead with Chris’s dream of driving! It’s been a long journey and we still have a ways to go but we’re finally making progress and that is definitely better than sitting still!