Pete Smith Auto Awards Big Check to Franklin County Food Pantry Millionth customer status nets $5,000

By Jeanne E. Fredriksen

Pete Smith pic 1

Keith Smith of Pete Smith Automotive Group presents the $5,000 check to Nicki Perry of FCDSS.
photo by Jeanne e. Fredriksen

On a cold, rainy Friday morning in March, the atmosphere was electric as happy faces lit up the Care and Share depot in Louisburg. The reason was simple: a check for $5,000.

Keith Smith of the Pete Smith Automotive Group presented the check to Nicki Perry, Franklin County’s Director of Social Services, in honor of being PSAG’s one-millionth customer. Social Services turned the money over to Care and Share, the county food pantry. Care and Share also received a supply of Pete Smith’s own brand of barbecue sauce, Shop Sauce.

The race to see who would end up being the one-millionth customer had been ongoing. When the Smiths realized they were closing in on the mark, they knew they had to do something special.

“The first thing I did was to get all of our vendors onboard – like Quaker State, Walker Auto, Bridgestone-Firestone, all of them – to help promote this,” Keith Smith said. “They were great in helping us.”

Deciding how to recognize that milestone customer was easy enough. “We felt that a prize of $5,000 worth of services wasn’t going to be as good as cash because cash always works well,” Smith said. “It’s something flexible that the recipient can use however they want to. We couldn’t be happier that Social Services was our millionth customer and is receiving our grand prize money.”

The Care and Share food pantry began operation in 1985 through the inter-church council. In 2005, Social Services absorbed it to keep it from folding. The pantry serves approximately 480 qualifying families each month and is staffed by eight to 12 volunteers who organize, pack and distribute the food.

“We want to thank Keith (Smith) for all of the work he does with us,” said an appreciative Perry. “He’s a great community partner, too. In general, he does a lot of sponsorships for us. We’re the lucky ones who were the millionth customer.”