FINAL POST ON MARCH 21: We believe this GoFundMe campaign has run its course and accomplished its goal of getting Stan Meeks back on the road! We are now officially ending the fundraiser. Stan would like to thank all of his friends, co-workers, EHS students and complete strangers who made contributions in the past couple of months. In a way, he still can't believe what happened. Such an outpouring of kindness and support. He truly loves his new vehicle. He is no longer at the mercy of the bus schedule. He can go where he wants, when he wants. It's a great feeling. Stan will never forget what the community has done for him!
BIG NEWS: On Saturday, Feb. 9, Stan got a new car, thanks to all the contributors to his GoFundMe campaign! It's a 2014 Scion xB, which is a cross between a hatchback and SUV. It's pearl black (his favorite color) and in super nice condition with only 36,000 miles. It came with a 3-year, 36,000-mile warranty. Stan used the GoFundMe money for the bulk of the purchase and made up the rest with a small loan. We will keep the campaign going a few more weeks. Any additional proceeds will go toward the loan and warranty. Stan is thrilled and so appreciative of all the kind-hearted people who helped him in this time of need. He was grinning ear-to-ear when he left the dealership. A cool aside: Stan bought the vehicle from Jerome West, a salesman at Auffenberg in Belleville and an ordained minister. Jerome reached out to us because he remembered "Mr. Meeks" from his days at Edwardsville High School. Jerome was so professional, friendly and helpful. We would highly recommend him to anyone looking to buy a vehicle.
ORIGINAL STORY: We're trying to help our neighbor, Stan Meeks, get a dependable vehicle once and for all. He's a soft-spoken, 69-year-old who lives in Edwardsville, Illinois. He has worked more than 25 years as a local school monitor. He also plays jazz keyboard at nursing homes and private events. He's never been able to afford a new vehicle, and some of his used ones have turned out to be unreliable money pits. That's the case with his most recent purchase, a 2002 Ford Escape. The transmission went out, and a mechanic wants $2,900 to fix it, more than Stan paid for the vehicle! He's now walking and riding the bus to get to work, etc. Anything you can do to help would be appreciated.
UPDATE ON JAN. 20: As many of you know, Stan is an unassuming guy, and when told of the generosity and support that people have shown in the past two days, he was absolutely amazed. We appreciate not only the $100 and $200 gifts, but also the $5 and $10 ones. Some seem to be coming from young people who know “Mr. Meeks” from the high school or middle school. What a wonderful and hopeful sign, that they care enough to get involved in a community effort. Also, some of you sent notes that reached us via email but aren’t appearing in the comment section. We want you to know that we read all of them and thank you for the kind words.
UPDATE ON JAN. 21: We adjusted our original description a bit. We had written that Stan was walking and riding two buses to get to work, but we misunderstood. That referred to his trips to Walmart and grocery stores in Glen Carbon. Getting to work involves walking and riding one bus. Sorry for the confusion. Also, several people have asked what will happen if the campaign doesn’t raise enough money for Stan to get a new vehicle. In that case, he will find the best used vehicle he can, hopefully one with low mileage and a warranty. He would like something similar to his old Ford Escape because it had room for his keyboard and his friend’s wheelchair.
UPDATE ON JAN. 30: We hit $10,000 a few days ago, and that's awesome. Stan has begun looking at vehicles to see what is out there and how much it costs. But it's not easy without transportation. Plus, it has been very, very cold, and we have warned him to be careful. We are not repeatedly posting the GoFundMe link on group Facebook pages because we don't want to be pushy and irritate people by begging for money. We're depending on Stan's friends to spread the word. If you contribute, thank you. If you feel comfortable telling others about this effort to help someone in need, please share the link on your social-media page or website.