72 Miles of giving

Bruce Nelson Jr., Michelle Russell, Matthew Fazio, Tracey Latshaw and Jason Fazio are on hand March 26 as an unused auto showroom donated by the Nelson family to The Children's Hunger Project is renamed the Bruce Nelson Child Hunger Center.

A new charitable organization is dedicated to helping Brevard County youth from Scottsmoor to Micco.

The group, 72 Miles of Giving, is the brainchild of former WA1A-FM radio personality Timmy Vee. Not long after parting ways with the station after 24 years in February, the longtime morning show co-host approached Bruce Nelson Jr., owner of Coastal Hyundai, Cocoa Hyundai and Coastal Mitsubishi, and his sisters Michelle and Tracy about creating a Nelson family fund to primarily help young Brevardians in need.

"It's actually something I've created and had in my mind and thoughts for at least five years," Vee said. "And so when I went to Bruce with my idea and my business plan, he said, 'Let's do it.' He's amazing. It took one meeting."

Applicants can go online to the fund's website, 72Milesof Giving.com, and apply for a donation, said Vee, now a public relations liaison for the family's charity efforts who will help make decisions on how monies will be distributed. About 90 percent of donations will benefit children's programs, Vee estimated. The fund is not a foundation, Vee said. It's simply an expansion of giving by the Nelsons, who are active in several local charities.

The family recently donated an unused showroom at Cocoa Hyundai's new location to The Children's Hunger Project to use as its new headquarters and a place to pack weekend meals during the school year for 1,400 needy schoolchildren. On March 26, the nonprofit renamed the showroom the Bruce Nelson Child Hunger Center in memory of family patriarch Bruce Nelson Sr., who donated time and money to many children's causes.

Nelson Jr. said the fund will enable his family to assist more people in Brevard. "We plan on doing more in this community," he said. "Brevard is 72 miles long. We thought it would be appropriate and all monies will stay in Brevard."

Vee, who will operate 72 Miles of Giving out of Coastal Mitsubishi, said he hopes the fund inspires other successful Brevard businesses to donate more to local charities. 

"That would be nice to see," he said. "We already have a great county here. But if everyone who could gave a little bit more like the Nelsons, how sweet would it be?"

For more information, go to 72MilesofGiving.com


Article by Viera Voice.

Photo by Mike Gaffey

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