Donating goods has long been a tradition during the holidays, but increasingly, you will see reports of owners of auto body repair shops being active in programs which give cars to families. The families who need cars are normally from the lowest income brackets in the community, and are trying to uplift themselves from their difficulties.

Donating cars that a charity uses to buy goods for the needy has been going on for decades, even 50 years or more depending on the organization. Unfortunately though, unscrupulous people have set up “charities” which accept car donations but in fact make healthy profits by donating just a miniscule amount to charity and keeping the rest for themselves. In this regard, it’s best to look for an organization that operates and helps out within your area, and who guarantee a big percentage, say 80%, of your donation going to charity.

These scams and the rise of middlemen has brought about an effort from truly concerned citizens and businesses like auto body repair shops to contribute directly, by forming groups that identify, select and then give a vehicle to a person or family. A case in point is an auto body repair business, whose owners have been organizing and leading such an effort for the past ten years.

In cooperation with a four-decade old organization which helps school children and their families, this autobody repair shop has helped low-income families who have demonstrated initiative to become less dependent on public assistance. By pursuing some form of training and participating in the education and development of their children, these families became eligible for this particular program. Using donor cars, this autobody repair shop has donated its services by restoring the cars to roadworthy condition and participating in the turnover to the selected families. Since the start of their donation program ten years ago, this automotive business, which also specializes in collision repair, has contributed to the donation of 56 vehicles in the Austin area. Apart from the obvious tax breaks that this business receives, an equally important aspect of what has become a tradition is the element of social responsibility. Giving what you can creates a huge amount of goodwill for companies like this auto body repair chain, and it has grown from strength to strength over the years.

Following this example, auto body and collision repair shops would do well to initiate similar programs, which not only give back to the community but also help the business by generating goodwill, word-of-mouth advertising and even tax deductions.

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