Anyone who knew Abraham Laó knew his car. The green Honda Accord served as a spotlight for his devout faith, with its license plate of JNC3V16 (John 3:16: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son.”)
“Everybody in church knew whose car that was. My parents were proud to shine a light on their strong faith,” said Marlene Laó-Collins, executive director of Catholic Charities, Diocese of Trenton.
After Laó passed away in 2016, his grandson Eric drove the car. Last year, the family decided the 2004 sedan had outlived its usefulness.
“My father owned the car, and he was someone who I loved and cherished, so I didn’t want to just trash it or give it to a junk guy for scrap,” Laó-Collins said.
She knew immediately what to do with it. She went to Catholic Charities’ website and clicked through to its “Car Donation Program” under the “Ways to Give” tab.
Easy to do
People can donate any type of vehicle, from cars, trucks, and motorcycles to ATVs, boats, and motor homes, even if they no longer run. Donors call a toll-free number or fill out a simple online form. The San Diego-based company Charitable Adult Rides and Services sends someone to pick up the vehicle and signed title, and handles all the details afterward. The donation then can be claimed as an income tax deduction.
“My experience was very positive, and they were incredibly pleasant people to work with,” Laó-Collins said. “All I had to do was clear out the car, tell them where it would be, and take off the license plate – which I forgot to do. But even that wasn’t a problem, because I just called them back and they returned it to me the same day.”
A lasting legacy
The Car Donation Program is a small but growing way for Catholic Charities to raise much-needed funds to support its work serving the region’s most vulnerable residents, said Nancy Tompkins, Catholic Charities’ director of Development and Marketing.
Car donations brought in nearly $12,000 last year, up from about $9,500 in 2018, she said.
“It’s a really easy way to make a difference in your community,” Tompkins said. “We take the headache out of the process of getting rid of an unwanted vehicle, and at the same time, our donors have the opportunity to really help someone in need.”
For Laó-Collins, the donation also gave her great comfort. “To me, Catholic Charities is a special organization. It really helps people,” she said. “My dad was very supportive of Catholic Charities and the work I do here. He was a donor. I just knew he would love the fact that it was going to Catholic Charities, and that even after he was gone, he was supporting Catholic Charities. There was no second thought for me. That car was doing nothing sitting in the street. But now it benefits the people that we serve.”
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For more information on Catholic Charities, Diocese of Trenton’s Car Donation Program, call 844-470-GIVE or (844)-470-4483 or click online here.
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