The Maryland Book Bank van picks up thousands of book donations each week from homes, schools and libraries all over the Baltimore area.
In late July, the van was stolen from the book bank warehouse and was significantly damaged before being returned August 2. The back window was destroyed, and spray paint covered most of the exterior. The vandals had also glued pages from books onto the vehicle.
LKQ-Keystone Automotive reached out to the Maryland Book Bank and offered to help replace or restore the vehicle, and that’s how Pasadena’s Frank & Bill’s Auto Collision Center got involved, according to owner Frank Loane.
“LKQ is the company that we buy our paint materials from as well as aftermarket and used parts,” explained Loane. “They called and just said, ‘Hey we’ve got this project we just took on, this Maryland Book Bank van. We would like to restore it for them; would you be willing to help out?’ I had no idea what had taken place, but obviously I told them, ‘Yeah, we’d love to do it.’”
All of the materials and parts were supplied by LKQ, and the team at Frank & Bill’s took the lead on repairing and restoring the damage.
“Body damage, paint, glue, tape,” Loane said. “Who does that?”
Once his team got involved, they began reaching out to trusted vendors and companies that do quality work in the area. Bay Area Tire & Service donated new tires and alignment for the van; Fleet Service Inc. completed mechanical work; and Baltimore Graphics Co. designed and installed new graphics.
While the van hasn’t been driving to collect books, the team at Frank & Bill’s wasn’t going to let that hinder the van’s mission. Throughout the restoration process, they coordinated with others in Pasadena to ensure they will deliver the van refurbished and filled with books after collecting what he estimates to be about 1,000 or more books.
“We’ve actually had a huge response with books,” Loane said. “People saw what we were doing on Facebook and decided to just bring in books. The Riviera Beach Library actually reached out too, and we’ve already gone over and gotten about a hundred books from them.”
Active members of the Pasadena community for nearly two decades, the Frank & Bill’s staff regularly partners with schools, events, boosters and other organizations to remain involved in the area.
“Sometimes you really get to help people and that’s rewarding,” said Loane. “We do jump at opportunities when we get the chance, and we actually have another vehicle coming in next week - a nonprofit called Hope For All - and we’ll fix them up too.”
For more information on the Maryland Book Bank, visit www.mdbookbank.org.