9/1/20: UPDATE - We are so grateful to Heart of Florida United Way for providing a $5,000 van sponsorship match. If we raise $5,000 for this campaign, Heart of Florida United Way will provide the remaining $5,000 so we can meet our $10,000 goal. Thank you HFUW and all of the individual donors who have contributed so far!
The Mustard Seed of Central Florida needs the public’s help after its van was stolen and totaled in a car crash.
The Mustard Seed's mission is to serve families suffering from many types of hardships. Our company van was used for picking up donations, delivering needed items to families, as well as transporting volunteers to and from our community agencies.
The van, purchased in 2015 for $15,000, was rendered a total loss due to frame damage. The Mustard Seed received $8,109 from its insurance company and seeks to raise an additional $10,000 to purchase a new van.
The seven-passenger van was stolen at a Winter Park auto detailing business at approximately 2:15 p.m. on Aug. 13. As the vehicle was being detailed, detailers left the van doors open and the keys in the ignition to allow the interior to dry. That’s when a man jumped inside the van and took off. An employee from the auto detailing business then jumped into his own vehicle and pursued the suspect in a high-speed chase.
The employee called 911, and a 911 dispatcher told the employee to stop pursuing the vehicle. However, the employee continued to follow the suspect.
Shortly after police told the employee to stop following the van, the suspect crashed the vehicle into a car on Orange Avenue in downtown Orlando. The suspect got out of the van and looked inside the car he’d just hit. Then he attempted to get back inside The Mustard Seed van and realized it wouldn’t start. The suspect then ran through traffic and got into a good Samaritan’s vehicle on State Road 50 and told the good Samaritan people were trying to kill him. The good Samaritan then dropped off the suspect at a hospital. The Winter Park Police Department is investigating the incident.
The Mustard Seed of Central Florida used the passenger van for donation drives, commuting volunteers, and attending outreach events. It's imperative to our operation to have a van in our fleet. If you're able to make a donation to help us get back on the road, we would appreciate your contribution so much! Thank you for your support!