Concerned residents and volunteers began fundraising for Meals-on-Wheels after one of its trucks was carjacked in Fremont on Thursday, leading to a police pursuit and the ultimate damage of the vehicle when it flipped over on the highway in Castro Valley.
Lily Shih, a volunteer, began the Crowdrise "emergency fund" effort, and as of Friday morning, had raised $595. Organizers estimate it may cost $45,000 to buy a new truck. The site hopes to raise $25,000.
The van, owned by Life Eldercare, which provides meals to seniors, had been overtaken by Fremont City Hall when a man and a woman ran towards the driver and jumped into the truck. A chase ensued and the vehicle flipped over on Interstate Highway 580 in Castro Valley, damaging the vehicle.
On Friday, Fremont police identified the suspects as Reginald Nunn, 45, and Latu Tapueluelu, 33, both of Fremont. After the suspects took off in the van and were cornered by officers, Fremont police said, Nunn claimed he had a bomb, which was never found.
The two were booked on charges of attempted carjacking, resisting arrest, auto theft and reckless evading, among other charges.
Not only does the group need a new truck, but they need money to rent a backup in the meantime. The only siliver lining? No food was damaged, the meals had already been delivered.
“Before he left, our volunteers said, 'Please don’t take this vehicle, it's for seniors. We serve food,” said Dawn Tschaen, who works at Meals On Wheels. “That truck costs about $45,000, which we don’t have."
Which is why Shih stepped in to help the agency that helps others.
"Therefore, I am pleading on behalf of Life Eldercare, as a volunteer, to our community for any support they can offer," Shih wrote. "It will take time before insurance can settle this hurdle. Any donation for this emergency is appreciated and will help LIFE get back on the road to serve the 106,000 meals they deliver yearly."
Donations to Meals on Wheels can be made at lifeeldercare.org.