A drawing was held Wednesday in the showroom at Vaden Nissan of Hinesville for a 2011 Versa. All proceeds for the sale of raffle tickets were donated by Vaden Nissan to the Kirk Healing Center for the Homeless.
Vaden Manager Brandon Rogers said his company wanted to show its appreciation to the community for its new home at 1009 E. Oglethorpe Highway by helping those who don’t have a home.
“We wanted to give back to the community that has been so good to us,” Rogers said. “After talking with (Kirk Healing Center Chairman) Sylvester Harris about donating a car, I talked with the owner, Jane Vaden Thacher. She thought it was a great idea.”
Rogers credits Charli Shearer, the Kirk Healing Center’s program coordinator, for arranging the raffle. Shearer said she sold tickets in Jesup, Claxton, Rincon and Richmond Hill, but three-quarters of the tickets were sold in Hinesville. Bob Cheney bought one of the raffle tickets for a $10 donation. The occupational therapist from Florida said he’s always been interested in helping the homeless.
Just before the winning ticket was drawn by Hinesville Mayor Jim Thomas, Shearer announced that $11,159 had been collected.
Community leaders, Kirk Healing Center staff and board members were present for the drawing, including founder Dr. Alicia Kirk, Harris, Co-chair Claudia Thomas, board member Barbara Martin and case worker Eva Wooten. Kirk said support from the Liberty County Chamber of Commerce, the Hinesville Downtown Development Authority, local churches and businesses enables her organization to help those in need.
According to its website, the center plays a unique role in helping homeless singles through the Shippey House, a transitional home for single women, and Dodd Place, a transitional home for single men. Kirk is a noted therapist who uses a holistic approach to treating the whole person — physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually.
“What we do is take care of single people,” Kirk said, explaining that other homeless organizations focus on helping homeless families. “We have a lot of people who come to us off the street, some from jail. We help them get their lives back together.”
Kirk said her center helps keep people off the streets by working with the Hinesville Police Department and Liberty County Sheriff’s Office. She commended co-founder Gary Dodd, a well-known entrepreneur and philanthropist in Hinesville, for his role creating the center. She also expressed gratitude to Vaden Nissan for its support.
When the last ticket was dropped in the raffle box before the drawing, Harris and Rogers offered background information about the drawing. Harris said he had come by the dealership to buy a car but started talking with Rogers, whom he said was looking for ways to help the center.
Rogers said it actually started when the two met for an “Extra Mile” award presentation to the center by Vaden Nissan. Laughing, he said when Harris later came by the dealership, it was Harris who suggested Vaden Nissan donate a vehicle they could raffle off to raise money for the homeless.
Thomas said the response to the fundraiser is indicative of how the community takes care of people. He also thanked Vaden Nissan for being a great corporate sponsor.
The winning name drawn by Thomas was Timothy Havens of Richmond Hill. Shearer immediately called the winner to tell him he had won the 2011 Versa. A loud “Wow!” could be heard throughout the showroom. Havens, who said he bought the tickets during the Richmond Hill Seafood Festival, was then told how he could claim his new car.
Kirk said she was pleased with the amount of money raised to help the homeless and thankful for how the Lord blessed their organization.
For more information or to donate to the Kirk Healing Center for the Homeless, call 877-7225 or go to www.kirkhealingcenter.org.