Maggie Sholar asked for an estimate from Freer Auto Body so that the Boys and Girls Club once again could utilize its all-purpose vehicle---but Freer Auto Body president and owner Tim Freer didn’t give Sholar what she came for. Instead, Freer searched for a utility vehicle to replace the van, which would have cost more to fix than it was worth. He found a 2017 Chevrolet Express 2500 12-passenger van for $17,500, which Freer Auto Body purchased and donated to the Boys and Girls Club of Alton.
“There was so much rust on the club’s van. Rust is like a cancer---it spreads,” Freer’s mother, Margaret, explained to The Telegraph. “We got a transportation company to deliver the new van for free, because it’s for the Alton Boys and Girls Club.”
Freer Auto Body took care of the Chevrolet Express’ title and transfer. Turk Motorsport Graphics, of Alton, will donate lettering service to put the Boys and Girls Club of Alton’s logo design on the van that came from Texas.
“I’m very appreciative of Freer Auto Body purchasing a much-needed van for the club,” Boys and Girls Club of Alton’s Al Womack, executive director, told The Telegraph. “We’ve been struggling to transport kids to various events and now, with this van, we have reliable transportation that can accommodate everybody.”
Now the Freers are asking the community to participate in donating needed cleaning supplies or merchant gift cards for places at which the club can purchase those needed supplies, such as paper towels, antibacterial wipes, all-purpose cleaner, etc. For example, appropriate stores would include Family Dollar, Dollar General, Target, Walmart, Home Depot and wherever such items are sold.
“We ask the community for so much---we keep asking. But, you know what, they never let us down,” Margaret Freer said. “Our slogan is, ‘You’re the heart of our business.’”
Last summer, during Freer’s granddaughters’ sponsored event, Christmas in July, which benefits the Riverbend’s generous Community Christmas giving-to-families-in-need event and is sponsored by The Telegraph and the United Way, raised $40,000 toward the Christmastime giving event. Another Community Christmas supplemental event sponsored by the Freers, Cookies and Cocoa, raised $3,500, as well as collected more than 200 new coats and huge loads of new unwrapped toys.
“It’s not that we’re rich---we just want to give,” Freer noted. “We encourage other businesses to step up.”
Tim’s wife, Carrie Freer, and mother of their girls, Taylor and Lily, continued verbalizing her mother-in-law’s sentiment.
“We just like to give back to the community, and we’ve tried to raise the girls to do the same,” Carrie said, while working the customer service counter with Margaret Jan. 18.
In true Freer fashion, the family upped the ante by encouraging community participation in the fill-the-van collection, which will be donated during the van presentation event at 4 p.m. Friday, Feb. 9, in time for Valentine’s Day, at Freer Auto Body, 4512 N. Alby Rd. in Godfrey. The public is invited. Donors’ names will be entered into a drawing to win a $500 Visa gift card, the winner of which will be announced at the van presentation.
“Valentine’s Day is a time to show your love, and that is exactly what Freer Auto Body is doing,” Margaret Freer stated in a news release announcing the event. “Our customers and our community are the heart of our business, and this Valentine’s Day we would like to ask you to help spread the love. We want everyone to come and fill it up.”
The first donations of antibacterial wipes and all-purpose cleaner, from one individual donor, came in Jan. 18. As donations come into Freer Auto Body, where items should be dropped off, the donor’s name and telephone number is written on red or pink construction-paper hearts, which then are dropped in a basket that sits on the auto body shop's customer service counter.
“We are asking our friends and customers to help fill the van with supplies needed by the Boys and Girls Club,” Freer said.
Needed items include Clorox wipes, hand soap, S.O.S pads, toilet paper, paper towels, bleach, Lysol, furniture polish, Windex, Fabuloso, Kleenex, etc. The Freers considered asking for snack items to be donated to fill the van for the youngsters who utilize the Boys and Girls Club, but, Womack explained, the club has an active grant for that purpose.