Inspired by the work of the Samaritan House Ministries, lifelong Brandonite and community booster Mildred Murray led the charge in Murray Auto Groups latest philanthropic endeavour.

The group, Murray Chevrolet Cadillac Buick GMC and Murray Chrysler Westman donated a $250,000 contribution for upgrades at Samaritan House through the Murray Auto Group Fund as well as Laurie and Doug Murray and Mildred Murray.

“If you have done well, you want to give it back,” Mildred said. “Obviously there is an need and so you do what you can to help.”

Samaritan House runs a food bank, resource centre, shelter and literacy programs in Brandon. Currently, the food bank provides between 80 and 100 hampers per day, and the need continues to grow. The donation has allowed Samaritan House to build new office space for staff and work on accessibility for future classroom space through a wheelchair-friendly hallway.

There are seven full-time staff members and one part-time driver at Samaritan House. Some 200 volunteers come through the building per month.

“They’re doing good work here, and mom could see a clear need to support it,” said Mildred’s son, Doug Murray, CEO of Murray Auto Group. “Like a lot of old buildings, it needed some upgrades. So we just felt we could save them a bunch of time and effort and come up with a good donation for them, and do our thing to help,” Doug said.

The donation was a joint effort, with Mildred contributing $100,000, while Doug and his wife Laurie Murray provided $25,000. The Murray Auto Group, which includes 30 dealerships across Western Canada, matched the $125,000.

It’s a true family business, with all four of Clair and Mildred Murray’s sons operating dealerships in Lethbridge, Strathmore, Winnipeg, and Brandon. Fourth-generation family members are now starting to come on board.

“We do feel we’re just a small part of many, many contributors in Brandon, and we’re just trying to do our share,” Doug said.

“We’re proud of some of the things that we do, but we’re also proud of some of things that other organizations and groups have done. It’s really important and it makes our city and our community a better place.”

Excerpts from the Brandon Sun