MUNCY - When Ina Coonce's husband, Joseph, passed away in July, she found herself with an extra vehicle. Instead of selling the car or taking it to the scrap yard, she decided to reach out and help others in need.
Coonce contacted a family member who directed her to the Favors Forward Foundation in Williamsport. The non-profit organization seeks to help those within Lycoming County who are in need. They were able to connect Coonce with the Harvey family of Williamsport.
The Harvey family has faced a great deal of hardship over the years. The family of nine includes one child, 5, who has been diagnosed with epilepsy and suffers from frequent grand mal seizures. He requires frequent trips to see his primary care physicians, who are in Danville and Pittsburgh.
In addition to medical appointments, the family requires a car to get Tim back and forth to work every day.
When their 1990 Chevrolet Astro van broke down two months ago, the family was forced to borrow cars and ask for rides from friends and family.
"Our friends and family have been very understanding and helpful, but having our own vehicle again is going to be so wonderful," Kristen said.
Favors Forward arranged a meeting between Coonce and the Harvey Family this week at Weis Market here. The eyes of the five Harvey children lit up with excitement upon seeing their family's 2002 Pontiac coupe. Their parents seemed humbled by the donation.
"This is God's work ... this is simply a blessing from God," Kristen said, shaking her head in disbelief.
As for Coonce, she was just happy that the car would be put to good use.
"It just makes me feel good to help. These people need this vehicle, and I really had no use for it," Coonce said.
For the volunteers from the foundation, the day was a reminder of how humbling it can be to help others.
"It is our honor to be involved in bringing you all and Ina together. We don't want you to think of this as any kind of handout," Beth McMahon, the foundation's president, told the Harvey family.
"You guys have been through so much and stuck together as a family when many people would have given up," McMahon added.
McMahon also praised Coonce's generosity. With the tough economy, many families are finding themselves without a working vehicle, she said.
"This is the third car we've had donated for this same reason - a family had destroyed their car by trying to make ends meet and care for a sick loved one. Cars are just a wonderful donation," McMahon said.
The foundation offers many services to help those in need, including Sunday food deliveries, an Adopt a Student Back to School program and an Adopt a Family for the Holidays program. Any donation made to the organization is tax exempt, and they are always looking for new volunteers, according to Lisa Wannop, executive director.
Those who are interested may log onto the foundation's website at www.favorsforward.org and sign up to receive emails alerting potential donors to needed items and forms of assistance.
"There's no commitment if you sign up to receive the emails. It's simply a list of what we have a need for. You're not obligated in any way to donate or volunteer," Wannop said.