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Facebook Friends, Shepherd's Center Needs You

The nonprofit organization for older adults in Webster and Kirkwood is vying for a new car in an online competition called Toyota's 100 Cars for Good. You can help them win by voting on Friday on Facebook.

The is an organization for older adults, so trying to win a on Facebook took a little more effort.

“Not a lot of seniors are doing Facebook,” executive director Gayle McHenry said.

The Shepherd’s Center at the corner of Berry Road and Lockwood Avenue is one of 500 finalists in Toyota’s 100 Cars for Good program, in which the automotive company plans to give away 100 cars over 100 days to nonprofit organizations.

The catch: each day, five nonprofits compete to see who gets the most votes on Facebook.

The Shepherd’s Center goes up Friday against four other do-gooders:

  • ITNCoastalCT, which provides transportation for seniors and visually impaired adults in Westport , CT;
  • Heart Gallery Alabama, which promotes adoption of children in foster care, based in Birmingham, AL;
  • AniMeals, an animal food bank in Missoula, MT;
  • Friends of Chabad of Lake Success, which provides companionship to the elderly and food and household necessities to individuals in need in Lake Success, NY.

For the Shepherd’s Center, getting the word out has been a bit of a struggle, McHenry said.

She has sent emails out to everyone in her contact list and asked area congregations to spread the word. She arranged for a class on Facebook that drew about 20 participants. And on Friday she will have laptops set up at the center and helpers who will walk clients through the process of getting a Facebook account and voting.

“We’re just doing it every little way we can,” she said.

She also has organized a senior flash mob that will take the corner of Berry and Lockwood by storm Wednesday morning.

Actually, it’s more like organized sign carrying, she said. Volunteers will bring their enthusiasm and horns to make noise and wave signs that read, “Give us the wheels.”

“Flash mob the senior way,” she said.

The Shepherd’s Center, one of 75 Shepherd’s Centers around the country, began in 1998 through the efforts of the three churches that share the intersection of Berry and Lockwood: and

Four additional churches now help sustain the program:, the Lutheran Church of Webster Gardens, and.

The nonprofit organization aims to help older adults stay independent through programs and services that promote positive aging. In addition to providing transportation to medical and dental appointments, the Shepherd’s Center offers classes, day trips, minor home repair help and a resource center for elder care.

If the Shepherd’s Center wins on Friday, McHenry hopes to expand the transportation ministry to help seniors get to the grocery store and to classes at the center.

“We would certainly put the car to good use,” she said.

Even if the Shepherd’s Center is not the winner on Friday, it will still receive $1,000 just for being a finalist.

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