November 19, 2021 - Chatham Area Transit staff announced during Tuesday’s CAT Board meeting that the Savannah Royal Lions Youth Organization was selected as the first recipient of a new vehicle donation program.

The Savannah Royal Lions Youth Organization is a nonprofit that offers sports opportunities, after-school tutoring and various community initiatives for young people 6 to 18 years old.

The donated vehicle, a 2014 Chevrolet Express Cutaway 4500 van, will be used by the organization to transport young people to sports practices and games, after-school tutoring sessions, camping and field trips, and community outreach activities.

"We are so pleased to hear that we were selected, and even more shocked to hear that we were the highest rated,” said President Todd Rhodes. “Our organization is here to be a blessing and a resource to the community. As a recipient of this vehicle, CAT will help us continue in this effort. Again we are honored to have been chosen and appreciate the opportunities transportation will allow us to undertake."

The van is being donated as part of an initiative launched in September that allows CAT to give away surplus vehicles to eligible nonprofit organizations that serve Chatham County residents. Vehicles in the program have exceeded the end of their useful transit life and have received board approval for disposal. CAT only offers surplus vehicles deemed by CAT’s maintenance department to be in working condition at the time of donation and are donated as is. All others will be salvaged or auctioned.

A CAT evaluation committee scored the Royal Lions the highest among 17 organizations that applied for the vehicle. The organizations were evaluated according to their demonstrated community benefit, service coordination and clarity and quality.

Interim CEO Valerie Ragland said that the selection committee told her that picking a winner was a difficult process due to the quality of the applicants.

 “They were all very deserving," Ragland said.

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