Battelle donates vehicles to charity

Eight vehicles donated by Battelle will find new missions with organizations and charities in the Mid-Columbia.

Battelle operates Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in Richland for the Department of Energy.

Battelle recently modernized its fleet and reduced its carbon footprint, then chose to donate the vehicles rather than auction them off, said Karen Blasdel, PNNL manager of community outreach.

Most of the vehicles are Ford trucks from 1998 and 2002.

"We said, 'If these vehicles are in good shape, let's see if there are some organizations that can use them,' " Blasdel said.

As of Friday, Battelle had delivered six vehicles to charities such as the Tri-Cities Food Banks, she said.

John Neill, executive director of the food banks in Kennewick, Richland and Benton City, told the Herald that the two Ford F-150s will allow him to devote more money to food.

One truck will carry pallets of food to the Kennewick food bank. The other will go to the Richland outlet and replace a grocery-rescue truck more than 30 years old, Neill said.

"I've been holding off on getting new trucks for a long time, always hoping they would last a little bit longer," he said.

The Ford Ranger that Battelle gave to Fields of Grace, a Richland-based charity that gathers fresh produce for food banks, is the first vehicle owned by the charity.

"All of our volunteers were using their own vehicles and their own gas," said Alissa Watkins, Fields of Grace executive director.

Fields of Grace will send its truck to farmers willing to donate produce. It also will haul equipment and personnel to prepare sites for harvest by volunteers.

A Ford Ranger and flat-bed truck with a lift arrived Friday at the Tri-Cities branch of Habitat for Humanity in time to handle a large shipment of donated building materials, furniture and appliances, said executive director Theresa Richardson, executive director.

Before the trucks arrived, the organization had just one vehicle.

A Ford Windstar will go to the Tri-Cities Prep in Pasco.

A Ford F-150 is bound for Liberty Christian School in Richland.

And a Ford Ranger has been donated to the Washington State Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Education Foundation at Delta High School in Richland.

Many PNNL employees volunteer at the organizations receiving the vehicles, Blasdel said.

"We've partnered with these different organizations over the years and had a good idea that they would have need for them," she said.