They weren’t afraid to let the people see them cry. Dozens of vintage Volkswagen buses and their owners drove from Phoenix to Albuquerque this weekend laden with food to rendezvous with a restored 1959 VW bus dubbed “The Jerry Garcia Fan Bus” as the Garcia- mobile made its last stop on a nine-city road trip and food drive to benefit local food banks.
The cross-country Private Issue(R) Jerry Garcia Road Trip and Food Drive, named after the credit card that bear’s the late Grateful Dead member’s artwork, has to date collected more than 36,000 pounds of food for local food banks in cities across the U.S.
In Albuquerque, the final stop on the food drive, fans of the late Mr. Garcia remembered the artist and musician with a display of tears under the headlights of their VWs as the 60s-style caravan rolled into town bearing groceries destined for the Roadrunner Food Bank of New Mexico.
“The road trip sponsored by Private Issue provided us with a rare opportunity to remember someone we admired and also reach out to help the community,” Pat Kelly, of the Arizona Bus Club, said. The Arizona Bus Club is a non-profit organization dedicated to the restoration and preservation of pre-1967 Volkswagen buses.
“The Private Issue Jerry Garcia Road Trip has raised a significant amount of food and money for local food banks such as ours, but just as importantly, it has helped to raise public awareness of the plight of the hungry in their community,” Melody Wattenbarger, Executive Director, Roadrunner Food Bank of New Mexico said. “Private Issue is helping our food bank provide families in our area with something most Americans take for granted — a meal. I think Jerry Garcia would be pleased.”
For each pound of food collected — up to 10,000 pounds per city — Private Issue has made a monetary contribution to the local food bank recipient in each city.
“The public, local corporations, radio stations and others across the country have dug deep into their pockets and their hearts, contributing groceries and helping raise food, money and awareness for food banks,” Vicki L. McMannon, Vice President, Marketing, Private Issue, division of NOVUS Services, Inc. said. “We are pleased to see this outpouring of support in memory of the late Mr. Garcia.”
The Private Issue Jerry Garcia Road Trip and Food Drive was launched June 14 in San Francisco with the unveiling of the Jerry Garcia Fan Bus — a 1959 restored VW bus painted to replicate the Garcia artwork on the Private Issue credit card. On hand for the kick-off were Garcia friends Paul Kantner of “Jefferson Airplane” and “Jefferson Starship,” his daughter actress China Kantner, and favorite Deadhead Wavy Gravy (who donated the first boxes of food to the bus). Before reaching Albuquerque, its final destination, the bus traveled to eight cities visiting art or music festivals and collecting food for local food banks in San Francisco, Boston, Buffalo, Minneapolis, Chicago, Philadelphia, Columbus, and Denver. The custom-painted VW bus will become the grand prize in a Private Issue sweepstakes at the end of a college campus tour later this year.
The art featured on the Jerry Garcia Private Issue Card — and recreated on the VW bus — is a multi-media work bearing a whimsical raspberry-red colored fox darting across a background of psychedelic colors. Jerry Garcia is one of three celebrity artists whose artwork appears on the 1997 series of Private Issue credit cards. In addition to Mr. Garcia’s creation, Private Issue Cards also feature artwork by rock music diva Tina Turner and New York Knicks center Patrick Ewing.
To apply for a Private Issue Card, consumers can call toll-free 800-PI-CARD (800-474-2273) or visit Private Issue on the Internet at http://www.privateissue.com .
The Private Issue Card, issued by a business unit Morgan Stanley, Dean Witter, Discover & Co., is a general purpose credit card that is accepted nationwide wherever the NOVUS(R) sign is displayed. NOVUS Services, a business unit of Morgan Stanley, Dean Witter, Discover & Co. operates the Discover(R) Card, the NOVUS Network and a growing number of new card brands accepted at all NOVUS Network locations.