Toyota of Lompoc
The salesperson at Toyota of Lompoc was driving to the central California dealership about a year ago when she noticed several homeless people, then wondered if there was something her colleagues could do to help.
“She talked to me and that’s when we learned about the Bridge House Emergency Shelter here in town,” says General Manager Nathan Zarate. “We went there and talked with their people. That’s how it started.”
Out of that meeting, Toyota of Lompoc made a commitment to prepare bagged lunches and deliver them to the shelter. Three times over the past year, the dealership has purchased the ingredients and employees have volunteered their time to prepare more than 100 meals comprised of sandwiches, chips, carrots, fruit, a granola bar and a juice box. Sanguino, along with fellow salesperson Joaquin Contreras, have spearheaded the effort.
This outreach typifies Toyota of Lompoc’s straightforward engagement with the community in which it does business. Here’s another: Over the past two Thanksgivings, the dealership has donated hundreds of turkeys to the Lompoc Food Pantry for people in need. That tradition began when Zarate read in the local newspaper that the pantry had just 19 turkeys in its freezer less than a week before Thanksgiving in 2017.
“When you operate in a small town like this, giving back is so important,” says Zarate. “If we see a need, we don’t hesitate to raise our hands. And people are so grateful. That’s what this organization is all about. It really doesn’t have to be any more complicated than that.”