The ugly truckling: A vehicle beautification projectWritten by Piper Stege Nelson
This is a story about an ugly truck that was made beautiful by some incredible SAFE volunteers.
Many years ago—when SAFE was still SafePlace—Austin’s Cierra company donated a truck to our agency for moving furniture and other large items. The truck served its original purpose over the years, but recently it become more of a stationary storage container for additional warehouse items.
As time took its toll, the truck got sadder and more rundown. We continued to use it for storage and even if we wanted to move it, there wasn’t a good way to remove it from the parking lot outside of the SAFE Family Shelter. It still had the Cierra furniture logo on one side and the SafePlace logo on the other. It looked like this:
But one day, an incredible SAFE volunteer named Ryan Coover—who has dedicated an impressive number of hours and years to SAFE in so many ways—connected us with a muralist to help get that truck painted. (Look at Ryan’s work here!)
Ryan got the paint donated from Sherwin Williams, saving us about $700, and then introduced SAFE to the muralist Angela Effenberger (check out her work at Dragonfly Design Austin!) Ryan and Angela worked collaboratively, with Ryan dedicating 20 hours to the design process and planning and Angela integrating a beautiful mural that fit with the design plans.
Ryan coached volunteers with less art experience during this project. Having been an art teacher for our youth at Rathgeber Village in the past, he was perfectly suited for this project.
Angela’s design is bright, colorful, and full of renewal and hope. SAFE’s Volunteer Services team then found volunteers from the community to work over three days with Ryan and Angela to clean, sand, prime and paint the truck. After 100 hours of combined volunteer work, at least 15 packets of goldfish snacks, many cans of paint and mini rollers, several paint splattered outfits, and a lot of heart, the truck now looks like this:
As the volunteers were working throughout the three-day beautification project, SAFE staff and shelter residents wandering by expressed their appreciation for finally fixing up this long-term eyesore. And since completing the project, the Volunteer Services team has heard so much appreciation from staff and others about how fantastic the truck now looks.
For me, SAFE’s Chief Public Strategies Officer, getting the truck painted was a four-year dream realized; my extreme gratitude to Ryan, Angela, Alexander, Langa, and all the incredible volunteers who came out to help.
Thank you so much to our incredible community for helping realize this beautiful dream.
And if you are interested in volunteering with SAFE this holiday season, we need help receiving, organizing, and distributing gifts through the SAFE Holidays program in December. You can learn more or sign up at safeaustin.volunteerhub.com.