Instead of giving up this Lent, give back

Related Reading
A long Lent

As we mark the beginning of the Lenten season on Feb. 17, many focus on giving something up as a sign of sacrifice and self-discipline to replicate the sacrifice and self-discipline shown by Jesus in the 40 days leading to his death.

Instead of giving something up for Lent this year, Catholic Charities of Boston (CCAB) encourages others to give back. The health and economic impacts of the unrelenting COVID-19 pandemic have been especially challenging for our most vulnerable community members, and now, more than ever, we need donor support to help us help our neighbors in need gain access to life's basic necessities.

Catholic Charities is proud to partner with Charitable Adult Rides and Services (CARS), a social enterprise nonprofit organization that helps thousands of organizations across the country increase their fundraising through a turn-key vehicle donation program. CARS accepts used cars, trucks, boats, and motorcycles and sells them, or their parts, at auction. Eighty percent of the net proceeds of a vehicle donated to CARS for Catholic Charities go directly to CCAB's youth programming. CARS uses the remaining 20 percent to reinvest in the community by providing meals and transportation solutions for seniors.

The benefit of donating your used vehicle is more than just a tax write-off. Funding from the vehicle donation program supports CCAB youth services, including after-school programs at the Teen Center at St. Peter's in Dorchester, summer camp for at-risk youth at Sunset Point Camp in Hull, mentoring, tutoring, and child care.

Thanks, in part, to funds raised by the vehicle donation program, CCAB is making a significant, positive impact on youth in Eastern Massachusetts. Before COVID-19, over 1,000 children attended summer youth programs and camps, and approximately 400 children and adolescents received counseling services annually. Many of our youth clients come from disadvantaged backgrounds, and these programs are essential to their educational and social development.

The average donation that Catholic Charities receives from a donated vehicle is $1,100. To put that into perspective, $1,000 sponsors one week at Sunset Point Camp for a low-income, at-risk child. Each year, on average, the vehicle donation program provides CCAB with over $25,000 in funds. The money goes a long way in helping our programs support the growth and development of young people in our communities who, otherwise, may not have access to such opportunities.

While the unrelenting pandemic necessitates many of us to stay home more than we did before, it is a good time to consider what material objects are essential in our lives. Perhaps you have an old boat sitting in your driveway or a motorcycle that doesn't run anymore. Maybe you're hoping to upgrade your car. Instead of giving something up this Lenten season, consider giving back to your community by donating your vehicle. It does not have to be running; CARS accepts vehicle parts for donation, too.

A recent vehicle donor, Deacon John Barry of St. Mary's Church in Holliston, shared, "When our car became too costly to repair, my wife, Diane, and I looked to see if we could donate it to help someone instead of trying to sell it for parts. It's a great cause, and more people should consider donating their cars to support Catholic Charities' work. If we could not use it, but there are people out there who could benefit from the parts, and there are so many people that Catholic Charities can help, we figured, why not donate it to help people?"

Donating your vehicle is simple. Please visit or call toll-free 855-940-GIVE (4483), and a representative will contact you to schedule a pick up of your vehicle. You will receive a tax benefit from the total sale, and Catholic Charities will receive 80 percent of the net proceeds.

Thank you for helping Catholic Charities build a just and compassionate society rooted in the dignity of all people. This vital work is only achieved with the continued generosity and support of our incredible donors.