Bannister Honda sales manager Jack Decaire (left), Bannister All Makes Collision and Glass general manager Jesse Clifford and Bannister general manager Pat Loehndorf present a donated Honda Civic to Sarah White with her daughter Isla, May 1, 2020. (Contributed)

Vernon dealership donates car to single mom affected by COVID-19

Bannister Honda’s Giving Back campaign will see two families in need receive free vehicles

A Vernon car dealership has helped a young family gain traction amid COVID-19 with a free set of wheels.

Bannister Honda’s Giving Back campaign launched a month ago with the goal of giving free vehicles to two families affected by COVID-19.

On Wednesday, April 29, the dealership presented a Toyota Corolla to Sarah White and her six-month-old daughter, Isla. White was accompanied by her mother, Wendy, whose nomination won the attention of Bannister’s general manager.

“It was clear from talking to our customers that this crisis was hitting hard and hitting fast,” said Pat Loehndorf, general manager and partner at Bannister Honda. “There’s a lot of need in our community, and I wanted to do whatever I could to help.”

Loehndorf said he took stock of his used car inventory and selected a pair of vehicles suitable for families in need.

“We know that reliable transportation can be hard to come by during a public health crisis. That’s something I can help with, and we started with a safe, reliable Toyota Corolla to give away to a family who needs it.”

Bannister Honda put out a call for nominations on April 1, receiving well over 100 entries in less than a month. A panel of employees went through each entry before narrowing the list down to the single mother and her daughter.

“It was incredibly hard to narrow it down,” said Loehndorf. “And yet, I know that this vehicle will really benefit Sara and Isla. Their story really hit us hard.”

White’s story took an unexpected turn last fall, when Isla was born.

“I had a very complicated pregnancy followed by a very traumatic birth,” she said.

“My baby girl and I had a really tough start, and both of us almost died. We are so thankful to the incredible doctors at Vernon Jubilee Hospital and Vancouver Children’s Hospital who kept us alive and together today.”

As a single mother, White’s first steps into parenthood have been further hampered by the COVID-19 pandemic, which has made daily tasks more difficult without a vehicle.

“I can’t describe how much this is going to change our lives. To have such a huge source of worry and stress lifted of my shoulders is just so amazing,” White said.

Once the papers had been signed and a safety seat for Isla had been installed, Loehndorf said he couldn’t contain his smile.

“I’ve had thousands of happy customers drive off the lot, but this one … this one is special. I can’t wait to do this again in May.”

Bannister still has a 2008 Honda Civic ready to give away to another family in need. Nominations to receive a vehicle will remain open until May 27 and can be sumbitted at

READ MORE: Okanagan Indian band lends a hand with food amid pandemic

READ MORE: B.C. man runs 100 miles on treadmill in garage to raise money for Search and Rescue

Brendan Shykora
Reporter, Vernon Morning Star
Email me at
Follow us: Facebook | Twitter


Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Vernon gym knocked out by COVID-19

9Round Fitness in Vernon Square Mall owners announce permanent closure of facility

North Okanagan regional district board delays food scraps ban

Move is to help businesses and organizations during pandemic

2019 payroll costs City of Vernon $26M

City discloses remuneration report and CAO is top earner

Vernon minor hockey players make cut for documentary

Hockey 24 includes Austin Seibel and his Vernon Tier 2 Bantam teammates, filmed by Coldstream woman

Power knocked out for 1,700 Lake Country residents

BC Hydro crews on scene to restore the outage

Video: Okanagan mayors encourage water conservation this summer

Water conservation this summer could be more important than ever, experts say

Snapshot: Distanced dancing in Salmon Arm

Friends use picnic shelter at Blackburn Park for safe practice

Kelowna’s Homebase Baseball Tournament cancelled

A live auction will still take place to raise funds for Joeanna’s House

Kelowna General Hospital Foundation launches fundraising initiative to support local health care

The initiative also highlights workers at Kelowna General Hospital

Kelowna man charged with harming a hamster

The 20-year-old Kelowna man faces several animal cruelty charges

High tech fish transport system set up to ‘whoosh’ salmon past Big Bar landslide

Fish will spend roughly 20 seconds inside the system, moving at roughly 20 metres per second

Trudeau to seek 10 days of paid sick leave for Canadian workers, says talks are ongoing

Paid sick leave is key to keeping COVID-19 spread under control, prime minister says

Snowbirds jets will not be leaving Kamloops, just yet

The Snowbirds have been in Kamloops since May 17 when a plane crashed killing Capt. Jennifer Casey

COVID-19 checkpoints ‘up to them,’ Bonnie Henry says of remote B.C. villages

Support local tourism economy, but only if you’re invited in

Most Read