If you see a paramedic cruising through the Inland Empire in an ambulance that looks like a Goodwill or American Red Cross van, you're not seeing things.
It's a new partnership that American Medical Response has started so the agency can spread the word about nonprofit organizations.
The first ambulance to get a makeover has been decorated with the blue stripes, mission statement and logo of Goodwill Southern California.
"We are kind of a moving billboard for them," said Diana McCafferty, AMR's manager of administration.
Providing free advertising for nonprofits on ambulances is not a new idea. Ambulance companies have promoted causes such as breast cancer, autism and Alzheimer's disease research in Riverside and Los Angeles counties, McCafferty said.
But Lowell A. King, the regional operators officer for Goodwill Southern California, said out of 173 Goodwill agencies in North America, this is the first one to be advertised in this way.
"We're the first Goodwill organization to have our name on an ambulance," King said.
Having their statement - "Transforming lives through the power of work" - on a high-profile vehicle is the kind of exposure the group needs, because Goodwill is often seen as just a chain of second-hand stores, King said.
Nearly all the revenue generated from the stores helps provide jobs for the disabled and other needy people. Goodwill found work for 5,000 people in 2009.
"This year, we're going to exceed that," King said.
The ambulance will be used mostly to drive people between skilled nursing facilities, hospitals and assisted-living facilities. But it probably won't show up at your door if you dial 9-1-1, said Robert Coster, an AMR account executive.