MAHOPAC N.Y. — Jeep enthusiasts came out in force Saturday to show off their prize vehicles while helping to raise money for some good causes.
It was the second year in a row that Volz Auto Group’s Meadowland of Carmel (owned by Kenn, Jenn and Barbara Volz) held “Jeep Fest,”—an event that is part car show, part fundraiser.
Jen Austin, the dealership’s marketing manager, said that Jeep lovers pay an entry fee to show off their vehicles—this year there were more than 50 entries—and compete to win prizes.
Meanwhile, various charities set up booths throughout the grounds while the Volz staff cooked up hamburgers and hot dogs for the hungry attendees. There were t-shirts for sale as well.
The Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation joined forces with #enlistme for the event. For every $30 donated, $250 was marked off the purchase of any new or pre-owned vehicle. The dealership will also donate $25 for every vehicle sold from Aug. 15 to Sept. 15. Money to the charities helps to build housing for disabled veterans.
Additionally GMC donates $5,000 to the cause.
“Our goal is to be around $12,000,” said John Russell, sales manager.
Russell said the idea for Jeep Fest came from the dealership’s customers.
“They are such enthusiasts,” he said. “It made sense to give it a try and last year was such a success it made sense to do it again. They put a lot of time into their Jeeps. It becomes a family project for some of them.”
The other charity at the center of Jeep Fest was the Putnam County Human Society, which was on hand with one of its favorite shelter dogs, 10-year-old Shockey, who was available for adoption.
Also at Jeep Fest was United for the Troops, an organization that sends gift boxes full treats to the troops overseas. The group’s representative, Jim Rathschmidt, said the organization has raised about $10,000 over a 10-month period, thanks in part to sales associate Mike Barrows who donates $50 to the group for every vehicle he sells.
“Without it, we could not operate,” Rathschmidt said, noting his group has sent about 13,000 boxes so far.
“Being a vet who served in Iraq and Afghanistan I can tell you that these (boxes) mean a lot,” Russell said. “It’s a little comfort from back home.”