When Sam LaCroix donated blood at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center (DHMC) last year, the Blood Donor Program receptionist told him that he would be entered into a drawing to win a one-year lease for a 2018 Honda Civic hatchback. This special, six-month promotion was a partnership between the Blood Donor Program and Upper Valley Honda to encourage blood donations. “Well, I recently got a vehicle, so I probably can’t use that,” LaCroix said. “But maybe if I win, we’ll figure something else out that will help someone in the area.”
LaCroix did win and he was thrilled with the solution suggested by Denee Fioravanti, a relations specialist in the Blood Donor Program and Upper Valley Honda’s Andrea Lessard and Steve Perlowski. They took the value of the lease and turned it into a $5,000 gift to the Upper Valley Haven, in White River Junction, VT, whose social workers will now award a portion of the money to clients who require vehicle repairs or other services and products from Upper Valley Honda.
“It will be at the Haven’s discretion to determine which families need help,” said Fiorvanti, “and they can use it for something as simple as a state inspection or for something more expensive like an exhaust repair.”
“Or they might use the money for tires,” added Perlowski, Upper Valley Honda’s general manager. “And this way they know the work will be done by one of our qualified technicians.”
“I thought their solution was great because it can help a lot of people who really need it,” said LaCroix, who lives in Bartlett, New Hampshire.
Michael Redmond, the Upper Valley Haven’s executive director, thanked Fiorvanti, Lessard and Perlowski when they presented the $5,000 check at the Upper Valley Haven on March 5. “We work with people who are facing all levels of challenges, and this helps to remove a barrier that might stand in the way of them getting to a job and being able to put food on their table and provide for their children,” said Redmond.
“Car repairs are not inexpensive and for people that we serve who are living with fixed incomes, a repair of $150 is too much for just about all of them,” said Jennifer Fontaine, the Upper Valley Haven’s director of operations. “So, this will be a great resource for our service coordinators [social workers] to be able to access for people that otherwise wouldn’t have the means.”
Sam’s generosity is so inspiring to all of us at the Haven,” added Redmond. “This simple act of thinking about the needs of others will make a big difference in the trajectory of people’s lives.”
LaCroix, who has given blood regularly for years but was a first-time blood donor at DHMC when he won the drawing, is pleased with how everything turned out. “I always felt that giving blood was a small thing I could do to help and thanks to this program, it turned into an even bigger thing.”
Photo from left: Jennifer Fontaine, Denee Fioravanti, Andrea Lessard and Steve Perlowski