September 26, 2023
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For greater than 70 years, the Land Rover Defender has been the car of selection for folks making a optimistic dent on the planet. That’s why Land Rover launched the Defender Service Awards—to acknowledge and assist organizations which might be contributing to the well being of their communities, the surroundings, and extra. Now in its third yr, this system rewards winners with a custom-made Defender 130 and a money prize. Public voting for the 2023 Defender Service Awards takes place from September 15 by October 4, so remember to click on right here to be taught extra, meet the finalists, and forged your vote.

And sure, your vote issues. This previous yr, 5 winners every went dwelling with a Defender 130 and $25,000, and 25 finalists took dwelling a further $5,000 every courtesy of title sponsor CHASE. It will get even higher in 2023: this yr, six Defender 130 automobiles will probably be awarded, class sponsors (Animal Planet, Pelican, ei3, Hearts and Science, and Exterior Interactive) will donate $25,000 every to the winners, and all 30 finalists will every get a further money prize from CHASE ($5,000) and Warner Bros. Discovery ($2,500). That sort of assist can rework a nonprofit’s packages, current and future. Listed here are two of final yr’s successful nonprofits and the way their vital work is benefiting from the award.

Mercy Cooks

Group Providers Award (Offered by ei3)

“Simply go feed folks.” As a mission assertion, it’s exhausting to get extra clear. That’s what Mercy Cooks has been doing since 2006, however the readability of the nonprofit’s mission can obscure an underlying perception that the group delivers with each plate of meals: one thing superb occurs over a shared meal. The Virginia-based nonprofit isn’t simply delivering energy, it’s additionally spreading love, connection, and neighborhood. 

Mercy Cooks does this on a number of fronts: feeding victims, volunteers, and first responders after pure disasters; creating neighborhood kitchens in choose places; and delivering grocery packing containers to food-insecure populations. That provides as much as hundreds of thousands of meals. Its cellular kitchens alone can cook dinner and serve 20,000 scorching meals per day.

Mercy Cooks makes use of its custom-made Defender 130 to ship meals to folks in want. (Photograph: Land Rover)

That’s the place the Defender Service Award is available in. “Including the Defender 130 to our fleet of automobiles lets us attain distant areas with meals,” says Nick Beckman, director of logistics and services at Mercy Cooks. “When the Virginia Seaside twister struck proper in our yard, the Defender 130 went with our response staff. When telephones are down and roads are a multitude, we are able to simply load 300 meals into the Defender 130 and go. We at all times wish to be sooner responding to disasters, and the Defender 130 makes me really feel assured we are able to ship anybody nearly anyplace.” Watch Mercy Cooks in motion right here.

Appalachian Bear Rescue

Animal Welfare Award (Offered by KONG)

The bear inhabitants is rising within the Southeast, which implies extra orphaned cubs and injured yearlings that need assistance. Fortunately, Appalachian Bear Rescue, the Tennessee-based rehabilitation and training nonprofit that received the 2022 Animal Welfare Award, is effectively outfitted for the job.

The Defender 130 permits us to do what we do higher,” says Dana Dodd, government director of Appalachian Bear Rescue. “It’s a way more dependable car than the older automobiles we now have. It’s safer to take rescue calls and is way extra suited to move supporters and visitors to bear launch occasions.” Yearly, the group cares for about 30 rescued bears, working with wildlife officers to determine animals in want, after which rehabbing and releasing them again into the wild.

A customized Land Rover Defender 130
Appalachian Bear Rescue makes use of its custom-made Defender 130 to entry distant bear habitats. (Photograph: Land Rover)

Whereas the useful advantages of the Defender 130 are clear, Dodd says there are additionally intangible advantages which might be simply as necessary. “The largest affect has been the advertising and title recognition that the Defender 130 brings to Appalachian Bear Rescue,” Dodd says. “We’ve by no means had a car with our emblem or a car that’s so simply recognizable. Each time we drive the brand new Defender 130, people discover us and find out about our mission.” Watch the staff within the subject right here

In terms of treating sick and injured younger bears, the College of Tennessee Faculty of Veterinary Drugs offers discounted care to the fees of Appalachian Bear Rescue. However prices nonetheless add up. “The $25,000 donation from class sponsor KONG has actually saved the lives of our younger bears,” says Dodd. “And KONG additionally donated a giant field of their toys for our cubs. We’ve truly used KONG toys with our cubs for a few years. We use them as a result of they’re robust they usually stand as much as the bear take a look at. Our cubs love them.”

See Appalachian Bear Rescue in motion: take a look at these movies of the staff releasing 4 yearlings in early July.

Based in 1948, Land Rover designs and engineers its automobiles in the UK. For over 70 years the model has constructed a popularity for offering its clientele with among the most luxurious and succesful automobiles on the planet, whether or not driving by the guts of the town or traversing the countryside on- and off-road. As we speak’s Land Rover lineup contains the Defender, Discovery and Discovery Sport, Vary Rover, Vary Rover Sport, Vary Rover Velar, and Vary Rover Evoque. Land Rover is absolutely engaged with sustainability initiatives and social considerations with steady involvement in environmental and neighborhood packages. For extra data, go to the official Land Rover web sites for the USA,, or for Canada Be taught extra in regards to the Defender Service Awards and former winners right here.

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