AUBURN, Maine — VIP Tires & Service has donated $78,123 to the Make-A-Wish Foundation, funds raised during the company's annual holiday Season of Wishes Campaign.
That brings to more than $483,000 the amount that VIP has raised for Make-A-Wish since 2007.
Auburn-based VIP, which specializes in retail tire installation and professional automotive services, encourages employees and customers to donate to the cause, then matches the amount 100 percent.
The company's 58 retail stores raised $39,061, which was then doubled. The money was presented to Kate Vickery, executive director of Make-A-Wish Maine, at VIP's headquarters in Auburn.
VIP, a family-owned business that has been in operation for 93 years, said the amount raised was 40 percent greater than what was raised in 2017.
"I attribute the increase to a phenomenal commitment to the cause by our store teams, plus a little friendly competition between all of our locations," VIP Chairman and CEO John Quirk said.
"This year was also so successful because Make-A-Wish had wish recipients visit our stores and tell their stories, and that helped to create a special link between the fundraising effort and those who benefit. It really inspired our employees and customers to get involved."
The funds raised in stores located in each state benefit their local state Make-A-Wish chapters:
- Maine, $24,213 ($48,426 donation);
- New Hampshire, $11,331 ($22,662 donation);
- Massachusetts, $2,889 ($5,778 donation); and
- Vermont, which opened in the fall of 2018, raised $628 ($1,256 donation)
Ms. Vickery callled the results of this year's effort "incredible."
"The funds raised are indicative of the continued commitment and heartfelt dedication that the employees and leadership at VIP have to making life-changing wishes come true for the kids and families that we serve," Ms. Vickery said.
"Their efforts are truly making a difference in communities, not just here in Maine, but throughout New England and we couldn't be more grateful for their continued partnership."
Make-A-Wish grants wishes to critically ill children. According to the charity, the average cost to grant a single wish in Maine is about $7,000, and the funds that support the wish-granting effort in each state are raised through campaigns such as the one VIP Tires & Service holds each holiday season.
Wishes range from trips to theme parks, meeting a favorite athlete or celebrity, attending a sporting event or concert, receiving a computer, tree house or shopping spree.
"Helping grant wishes for these children is extremely meaningful and gives them something positive to look forward to," Mr. Quirk said. "We would like to thank our generous employees and customers for helping raise these funds that will bring much-deserved happiness to the lives of children and young people facing life-threatening conditions."