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  • Mary Kemnitz

Why should you donate your Car?

What does hope look like? Sometimes hope looks just like a donated car: a candle in the dark. There are so many reasons to donate a car to charity. From tax breaks to finding a way to get that junker finally out of your driveway, the list could never end. While this can absolutely serve as your driving force for making the call, it’s good to know WHY it matters to the folks on the receiving end. From programs that help single parents to get to the point of self-sufficiency to ones that continue to support the victims of the Paradise fire, it all matters.

YOU can make a huge difference in the lives of a family struggling to get by, or someone who lost their vehicle in the deadliest wildfire in over a century, not to mention the overarching organizations that devote their existence to making the world a better place. Every donated car contributes to bettering lives.

Imagine barely escaping with your life as a wildfire tore through your community. You and your family were able to load up your truck with all your pets, some of your favorite clothes, and a few prized possessions. You thought you’d be able to get back in later because this had to be just another close call like the ones that had come before. You left your husband’s and daughter’s cars behind because you wanted to keep the family together, just in case.

As you were driving away, you started to see how close the fire was coming to your neighborhood. The smoke was getting darker and closer. You were sure you could feel the heat as the fire was racing towards you.

You started worrying about your neighbors who weren’t yet leaving. You started worrying about the things you left behind. You asked your husband if you should go back for more. He told you to focus on the road ahead. “Things are just things.” He said.

You held onto the belief that the fire would miss your home and you’d be able to return. Once you made it to your friend’s house in the town far enough away, you started listening to the radio. You kept waiting to hear it was okay to go back. In fact, you’d heard that the winds had shifted, and your specific street had even been mentioned as being safe for now. “Whew.” You released a huge sigh of relief and drifted into a restless sleep.

Morning came, and at the first ray of sun, you sat up bolt right. You felt uneasy. You were exhausted. You quickly turned on the tv and kept it low as not to wake anyone else. Then you saw it. Your neighborhood. Barely distinguishable but for the surrounding area behind your home. The winds had shifted. No words would come, but tears streamed freely down your cheeks. Everything. Everything was gone. Only gratitude for the entire family getting out alive was left. To help with anonymity, this is a fictionalized story, based on what actual survivors shared about their experiences. So many stories similar to this one came from the Paradise fire. So many losses that included innumerable vehicles.

How will families all get around now with only one car to share if any? Many are now living out of the area, but they still have to commute to work. If you donate a car to the cause, one more family will be positively impacted by your generosity in a way that hopefully, you will never have to comprehend fully. Stories like this one are the number one reason to donate a car to charity.

While some donated cars are great for restoration with the capacity to pass along to a person who could greatly benefit from having a working vehicle, other vehicles need to be sold for parts, and that’s how those donated vehicles can help many different charities too. When you make the decision to donate your car to charity, it can have a significant impact! Never diminish the effect of what donating your vehicle can give to another human being. It’s not even the most obvious or tangible. What you are offering is hope. If you’d like to donate your car to help someone recover from the Paradise fire or another valued non-profit, reach out to to donate a car that runs and to donate a vehicle that does not. Check out their respective websites The organization has received 30 cars for the Paradise survivors, but they need more, as you can well imagine.


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