On a rainy Monday morning, Jerry Bundy stopped by his office at Bundy Motors in Tolland before heading out to pick up a car from a longtime friend and customer. Jerry doesn’t own the shop anymore — he’s retired after 38 years there and 60 in the automotive industry. But now he combines his two passions: cars and raising money for child abuse prevention programs.
After raising a million dollars for KIDSAFE CT, an affiliate of The Village, through the KARS for KIDS program, Jerry is now “on his second million.” He accepts donated cars, boats, campers and motorcycles and does whatever is needed to make them safe and sellable — with all of the profits supporting programs provided by KIDSAFE. He’ll pick up or tow a car to the shop if needed, the shop mechanics do a full safety check and fix what’s needed (brakes, lights, etc.), then Jerry sells it.
It all started in 1981 when he joined the Exchange Club of Rockville and learned about plans for a new program for children and families called KIDSAFE. The Exchange Club president asked for a volunteer to help lead the effort and Jerry found himself raising his hand. He called upon his many friends, colleagues and business connections to help get the new organization up and running.
KIDSAFE is now a thriving community-based organization dedicated to early intervention, prevention, and treatment of child abuse and neglect. Its mission is to “partner with the community to educate and empower families and promote the wellbeing of young people.”
Jerry stayed involved all these years because of the “stories he heard about the parents who were helped” by KIDSAFE and “how appreciative they were.” A lifelong car enthusiast, Jerry was often attending — and winning — awards at car shows across the country. At a car show in Boca Raton, he learned that they made $9 million in one weekend. He said to his friend, Gordon, shop manager of Bundy Motors and another person dedicated to KIDSAFE (as most of Jerry’s friends are), “If they can make $9 million, we can make $9,000 — for KIDSAFE.” So they came home and pitched the idea to their friends. Long story short, they organized the first Car Show for KIDSAFE and raised $9,000. And held it every year since (for eight years), raising nearly $100,000.
Jerry’s life is about cars, friends, family and KIDSAFE. And there is little that separates them. The result is that more children and families in the community have the help they need to be safe, stable and healthy.