We've got a truck

Donations boost group's efforts to help local families

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United Way of Kootenai County, American West Bank and Coeur d'Alene Kiwanis Club gathers with staff and volunteers from We've Got Stuff to be recognized for their donation of funds that was used to purchase a new delivery truck. Pictured from left are Diana Moad, Shauna Herman, Barbara Flint, Pat Freeman, with Kiwanis, Stacey Deitz, Rick Shipman, with American West, Caryl Johnston, with United Way, Karen Nielsen, Molly Shirey, Cedric Clark, Barb Neal, Timothy Wilhite, Cindy Yoder, Nancy Schooley and Sharron Muldoon.

COEUR d'ALENE - "We've Got Stuff" can now say this with pride: "We've got a new truck!"

And boy, did it need one.

The nonprofit's 1994 box truck used for making client deliveries was in poor condition, said Molly Shirey, director and founder of the organization that helps families transitioning out of homelessness.

So bad was it, that a mechanic advised them to stop putting money into it.

"There was an exhaust leak which was unsafe for the driver - over 300,000 miles on the current engine, and the kicker was when the loading door caved in," she said.

There was one thing to do:

"It was time to get on our knees and pray," Shirey said.

Prayer answered, starting with a $10,000 grant from United Way of Kootenai County.

"When We've Got Stuff applied for funding through the United Way Community Care Fund Grants this year, members of the United Way Basic Needs Impact Council were compelled to help out," said Caryl Johnston, United Way executive director. "The truck the organization was using was in dire straits."

We've Got Stuff provides basic household furnishings - for free - that turn a house into a home. When families are referred to We've Got Stuff, a team of volunteers visits them to assess their needs and the space they will be living in. We've got Stuff then fills as many of the basic needs as possible through the donations made by people in the community. The items include everything from forks to furniture.

Shirey said the United Way grant helped to leverage other dollars including a $2,000 donation from AmericanWest Bank, and a $1,500 gift from the Kiwanis of Coeur d'Alene.

Then, the used, 17-foot truck came up for sale.

"It was everything we prayed for," Shirey said. "A 2006 Isuzu with a diesel engine, low mileage, translucent roof so we can see in the truck without turning on the lights and running down the batter. It is the exact size we needed."

The truck was in Boise, so it was time for two more small miracles.

The seller reduced the price on the truck because of what it was going to be used for, and a family visiting there from New Life Community Church in Rathdrum drove it back.

"It was an answer to a prayer," Shirey said.

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