A company can never be too involved in the community and this was a milestone year for Stoops-Fort Wayne.
In 2015, General Manager Jim Ham began the philanthropic journey by leading his dealership to a partnership with the local Big Brothers Big Sisters organization. But this year it went further than that; Stoops also accepted an invitation from the local United Way organization to participate in their “Day of Caring.”
For more than 25 years, the United Way has hosted multiple “Days of Caring” in the Fort Wayne area where businesses volunteer to help with a project at various parks, schools and other organizations. This year, the “Day of Caring” took place on Sept. 1 and involved more than 1,600 volunteers. Stoops was among those volunteers with 16 employees from all departments dedicating their time to helping revitalize a school playground and parking lot.
During the project, the Stoops volunteers not only reset pea gravel and repaired benches, but they also had the opportunity to meet some of the children during recess where handmade signs were shared to thank the staff for their time and effort.
But the story of caring does not stop there. Fort Wayne employees were so touched by the energy of the children and the kindness of their “Thank You” signs, that the volunteers wanted to do more. The dealership decided to collect donations from employees which would be used to purchase playground toys for the children to enjoy throughout the school year. Through the generosity of the dealership, Stoops raised more than $800 which was used to purchase basketballs, soccer balls, footballs, kickballs, super balls, sidewalk chalk, a giant Frisbee, bottled water, hats, gloves, tissues, hand sanitizer and a pizza party for the entire school … all of which were presented at an all school gathering.
Gratitude and surprise are just some of the words to describe the atmosphere in the room that day. Teachers and students alike were more than grateful for the gifts and let the Stoops staff know with hugs and high fives as they returned to class.
Stoops intends to participate in the United Way’s “Day of Caring” in 2017 where they can continue to make a positive impact in the local Fort Wayne community.