Shield of Athena gifted a brand new set of wheels after old van stolen

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The head of the emergency women's shelter Shield of Athena says she's shocked by the kindness of Montreal's business community, which has stepped up to get the organization a brand new van just days after their old one was stolen.

"We were stunned by the public's response," said Shield of Athena's executive director Melpa Kamateros.

The unmarked dark blue van, which was stolen last Friday from a parking lot in Parc-Extension, was used to collect weekly donations for shelter residents escaping violence.

"That van is our lifeline," said Kamateros.

After hearing about the stolen van via various media reports, it didn't take long for others in the community to step up to help.

On Wednesday, Kamateros was stunned with the news that the organization will be getting a brand new vehicle, courtesy of Avon Canada.

"Associates of Avon Canada were saddened to hear that the Shield of Athena's van was stolen this week," Roberta Lacey, spokeswoman for Avon Canada, said in a statement.

"We regrouped quickly this morning to put things into action in order to provide the shelter with a brand new 2017 Dodge Grand Caravan so that they can continue the critical work that they do in the community to help women and their families."

"To date, the Avon Foundation for Women Canada has invested close to $2 million to end violence against women, and we felt it was our duty to support the shelter in their time of need," Lacey said.

A loaner from Silver Star Mercedes-Benz

Until the shelter gets the new van, Silver Star Mercedes- Benz reached out to say it would lend the organization a vehicle.

"The support has continued, as many other people have offered help in a variety of ways. Out of this unfortunate incident, we have seen such kindness, compassion and generosity," said Kamateros.

"We are truly moved by everyone who wants to help."

Shield of Athena helps about 700 people annually through its services and houses more than 100 women and children.

Police are investigating the theft.