ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — For the altruistic, donating their old vehicle can provide a warm-fuzzy while also delivering a nice, little tax write off.
But for Casa Esperanza, an Albuquerque family shelter for those suffering from cancer, it provides a valuable source of income.
And for the folks who show up to Casa Esperanza’s “Give Hope a Ride” monthly vehicle auctions, it can provide a low-cost auto for those who can’t afford anything better.
“It’s a win-win situation for the entire community,” said Casa Esperanza executive director Chrisann Gray, who used to be in charge of the Give Hope a Ride program. “I don’t see any negatives. Some of the smaller used-car dealers may complain that we’re taking some of their business, but we’re really not. We serve a completely different group of people.”
Gray used to be in the auto industry on the finance end of things before getting out of the business.
But when the opening with Casa’s Ride program became available several years ago, Gray’s daughter-in-law, who worked at Casa’s main house, recommended her for the position.
And Gray has found the work extremely rewarding.
“Working for a nonprofit is hard work,” she said. “But it’s great to know that you are really helping people that need help in the community.”
Casa Esperanza provides housing for families of cancer patients who are undergoing treatment and don’t have the wherewithal to afford housing.
The Ride program provides as much as $14,000 every month, Gray said, which is a significant chunk of revenue.
Since she’s been connected with the program, Gray said she’s seen everything from boats to motorcycles to flatbed trucks. One time there was even a 1966 Ford Thunderbird.
The auctions are the second Saturday of every month and prospective buyers can check out the available vehicles the Friday before each auction. Buyers must be prepared to pay for the vehicle immediately following the auction via cash or credit card.
Vehicles can be donated at any time and are towed for free. Once the vehicle is sold, donors receive a receipt for the amount of the sale, which can be written off their taxes.
And since it is getting toward the end of the year, Gray expects the number of donations to increase.
“Everybody wants to get that last tax write-off in before the end of the year,” she said.