Housing Authority donates van

Published 12:25 am Wednesday, January 12, 2011

NATCHEZ — When one nonprofit donated its old van to another nonprofit last week, the situation was win-win for everybody, but especially for the children of East Woodlawn subdivision.

Natchez Housing Authority Executive Director Alan Ingram said the housing authority recently got a federal capital grant to replace its 1996, 15-passenger Ford van.

The van needed some repairs but had low mileage and was in good condition, Ingram said. But he knew bids for 15-year-old van would not come in at much more than $500.

Email newsletter signup

So when housing authority assistant director Janice Herbert suggested a group that could use it, Ingram liked the idea.

The authority donated the van to D & J Youth Group, a local nonprofit Joe and Dianne Good started seven years ago.

The Goods operate the youth group out of their home, where there is a constant flow of neighborhood children after school who gather to do homework or simply hang out in a positive environment.

Herbert has known Dianne for more than 30 years through their church, and she knew from first-hand experience how much the Goods needed the van for local field trips.

The Goods have borrowed the van on a few occasions, for instance, to go to the zoo in Jackson. And since the van belonged to the housing authority, Herbert always had to tag along and drive.

So when the opportunity came to either take a bid or donate the van to the youth Group, Ingram said the decision was easy and unanimous across the board of directors.

“We do what we can, and they do what they can in another neighborhood, so why not work together?” Ingram said.

The van will also come in handy for day trips, such as Friday night football games, Joe said.

More than 20 children regularly participate in the youth group, and Dianne said all children are welcome to join.

Now, the van will allow for a comfortable, safe rides to the stadium or any other nearby field trips.

The van will also be useful in transporting the children to a new technology research center that is in the works for the youth group’s use, Diane said.

Joe said he and his wife started the group after growing noticing conditions of the young people in their East Woodlawn neighborhood where they had lived for 35 years.

“I’ve never been disrespected because I treat them the way I want to be treated,” Joe said.

The children piled in the van right after school at 3:45 p.m. Tuesday and were entertained playing inside for hours, Joe said.

Oronde Watkins, 13, said the van is much more preferable to squishing into cars.

“We aren’t all bunched up!” Watkins said.

Some of the other children in the back said they liked the heat in the van, too, with low temperatures outside.

Perraniqua Champ, 13, said she adored the red color of the van.

Champ also had high praise about the Goods.

“They’re the most loving people ever to be made,” she said.

Dianne said the nonprofit could use donations for van repairs and funding for the group’s summer trip to Niagara Falls, Canada.

Anyone interested in donating can mail donations to D & J Youth Group at 26 East Woodlawn St., in Natchez or call 601-442-4169.

Ingram said the housing authority has its own problems, but the staff and board was pleased to help support the Goods.

“With this kind of communication, we can help push the bad stuff out,” Joe said.