Houston Children’s Charity: 21st Annual Chariots for Children Van Program Distribution
Photo Credit : Alexander's Fine Portrait Design
On Wednesday, June 7, 2017, from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m., the main dining room of Willie G’s Seafood & Steaks was the site of a joyful philanthropic event. The occasion was Houston Children’s Charity’s (HCC) 21st Annual Chariots for Children Van Program distribution, during which HCC, in partnership with Adaptive Driving Access, awarded 12 wheelchair-accessible vans to 12 local families. One 12-passenger van was also awarded. It went to Southwest Glen Mission, which helps apartment members of its community live a better life.
More than 100 guests, including HCC’s board of directors, van sponsors, and recipients gathered together for the lunchtime presentation made by HCC’s CEO and President and Executive Director, Laura Ward, and HCC’s Chairman of the Board, Tilman Fertitta. Lunch was followed by the outdoor van distribution. For the first time in the program’s history, sponsorship was procured for all 13 vans, whose total value is approximately $500,000.
Six of the vans were generously sponsored by Jana and Richard Fant on behalf of The Fant Foundation. The other caring sponsors included Maria Moncada Alaoui; BMW of West Houston; Betty Castillo; Lydia Goins-Blackburn; Mayra Cruz; Briggs Equipment; Mike Murphy; Adaptive Driving Access; Melissa, Brad, and Scarlette Juneau; Cathy Arellano; Klein Oak High School; J. B. Bartholomai; Edna Meyer-Nelson; Jeff Hude; Rob Moore; Doreen Anderson; Luke Dickerson; Doroteo Ramirez; Valero Energy Foundation; Dr. Mary Ann Wilkins; and Stewart Title.
Founded in 1996, the Chariots for Children program offers wheelchair-accessible vehicles to families of children who need them. From the program’s inception, HCC has awarded 90 passenger vans, 51 handicapped-accessible vehicles, three box trucks, and one car and two vehicle modifications to 94 agencies and 53 individual families. Its importance to the community is immeasurable.
This year’s recipients range in age from seven to twenty years old. Each one has a variety of needs and interests and is unable to travel to and from a destination safely without the proper transportation. Prior to receiving their specially equipped vans, recipients were at risk of injury in the family car, and wheelchairs had to be disassembled in order to fit into vehicles. Now recipients can travel safely to and from school, doctors’ offices, and other destinations as well as participate in family and community events with greater ease, giving them the ability to interact more with their peers and develop their social skills.
Guests: Tilman Fertitta, Laura Ward, Jana Fant, Richard Fant, Tama Lundquist, Carol Sawyer, Kristina Somerville, Melissa Juneau, DeeDee Marsh, Michael Fertitta, Gary Becker, J. B. Bartholomai, Bob Ogle, Rachel Gordon, Alyx Haraway, Dr. Mary Ann Wilkins, Bernadette Blair, Danice Lowry, Michael Smith, Randy Lowry, Don Henderson, and Edna Meyer-Nelson.
About Houston Children’s Charity
Houston Children’s Charity has helped over 300 agencies and 3,000,000 children for 21 years and is still going strong. The nonprofit is dedicated to improving the quality of life for Greater Houston’s underprivileged, abused, and disabled children who would otherwise have been left behind. The generous nonprofit has created a number of outstanding programs to meet the various needs of Houston’s children. Chariots for Children, which is only one such program, provides safe efficient transportation to individual families of disabled and/or wheelchair-bound children, as well as to various organizations, by providing them with handicapped-accessible vans.
About Adaptive Driving Access
Adaptive Driving Access is a local family-owned business that has been in operation for over 20 years. It provides wheelchair-accessible vehicles and equipment for the disabled.