BESSEMER, Ala. (WIAT) — Last month, thieves left the A.G. Gaston Boys and Girls Club without working vans.
They made off with six catalytic converters, costing $12,000 total to replace. Through community organizing and a large company donor, the club has since received over $30,000 in donations.
“We use the vans every day to pick up the kids and pick up their lunches for the kids are at the club,” Devin Posey, Director of Operations for A.G. Gaston Boys and Girls Club said when asked about the importance of their vans to their daily operation.
Thieves take catalytic converters because they’re valuable. According to Firestone, one will run about $1,200 after labor expenses.
This came at a time during which the club’s resources had already been stretched thin.
“Times are different because of COVID-19 because we have the kids all day, instead of just after school,” Posey said. “We were using our own personal vehicles to pick up the lunches.”
But the thieves didn’t get away with the community’s spirited generosity. A GoFundMe campaign created to help recoup the loss garnered about $5,000–just about enough to replace each stolen catalytic converter.
Then, Bridgestone saw the opportunity to help too and donated over double the original expenses. The auto shop chain gifted $25,000 toward van maintenance and repair for the damages left from the break-in.
“The donation also provides us with technology upgrades for our clubhouses,” Posey said.
Because the community worked together, they’re putting the vans back on the road, so kids can get back to the club.
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