KANSAS CITY, Kansas — The hunger to help struck Eric Gentry, new owner/partner of Victory Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram and Victory Ford, upon hearing about Reola Grant Civitan Center (RGCC) and its need for a new home for its food pantry.
Gentry made a phone call to RGCC Chief Executive Janice Witt offering Victory's help.
Within days, the dealership helped to serve more than 500 Thanksgiving meals on the showroom floor, followed by dispersing 6,000 toys and 1,000 pounds of food for Christmas.
Now, after proper certification, there is a more permanent home for the pantry in the back of the Chrysler Dodge lot, where Victory ordered a trailer, a rail container and now an $11,000 shed donated by Classic Buildings in Kansas City.
"People set up an appointment, and when it's time, they pull in to our lot out back and we give them the food," Gentry told Edmunds. "We've fed over 3,000 people since November. Everyone from the shop mechanics to the sales managers are helping."
Its staff is now packing Easter baskets for the upcoming holiday.
The pantry's presence has brought the teams at both dealerships together, said Gentry, who purchased both of them in early 2014.
"This food pantry and what we've done has changed and helped our culture in the dealerships faster than anything else I could have done," he said. "Everybody has gotten behind it and it's united us."
He's confident the extra parking lot traffic won't impede car sales either.
"I think what we are doing gives us a much bigger reward than selling cars," Gentry said.
Edmunds says: Food for thought takes on new meaning for a brand-new dealership owner.