New Year’s Resolutions Around Charity & Doing Good For Others

Image by Image by Alexas_Fotos from Pixabay 

Now that 2020 is behind us and we have moved into 2021, many of us are giving thought to New Year’s Resolutions. For us, our New Year’s Resolutions for 2021 revolve around charity and doing good for others. That is why in this month’s blog, we want to share some ideas we have about giving to others to make the world a better place.


Though many claim that the year 2020 was a dumpster fire of a year, we at Cars 2nd Chance found a silver lining of good coming out of a challenging year. For one, we saw that more people were quickly becoming food insecure during the early months of Covid-19. That is why we were inspired to take the money from car donations and support the Food Bank of Solano and Contra Costa Counties. In 10 months, we have donated $50,000 and pledged $100,000 to the Food Bank to help feed hungry families and individuals within our communities.


We also took the initiative to provide donated cars to families and individuals in need. Some were young couples starting their lives together, while others were disabled or homeless. To see car donations come through that would lend a hand up to those who needed extra support, it warmed our hearts to see that much good coming out of our Cars 2nd Chance program.


We are hoping with all our might that 2021 is going to be a better, more stable, and productive year, but there are no guarantees. Two years ago, we gave donated cars to people who lost their homes in the Paradise Camp Fire disaster. There is and always will be a need to help others facing significant challenges within our community. That is why our New Year’s Resolutions continue to focus on charity and doing good for others. It’s who we are as Rotarians, and that is why we love all the goodness that comes through our Cars 2nd Chance program.


If you are still undecided about what you want to do for yourself and others in 2021, we invited you to resolve to help those in need through Cars 2nd Chance. If you have a car you wish to donate, our donation process is super easy. If you, instead, prefer to donate cash, we are open to that as well. Or, if you find that you are the one in need of help, ask, and we’ll do our part to assist you. When you willingly give, you are likely to get more, due to your generosity.


If you want to buy a donated vehicle, give cash, or present a car to Cars 2nd Chance, now is a great time to share! If you resolve to give more this year, donate your unused vehicle to help someone recover from a natural disaster or receive food from the Food Bank. First, reach out to to donate a car that runs, or send an email to to donate a car that does not run. We appreciate your love and support!

End Of Year Giving

Ah, December! It’s our favorite time of year. This month is when we put forth an extra effort towards giving a bit more at the end of the year.

2020 has been an interesting year, at best. Cars 2nd Chance has been busy processing car donations that benefit the Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano. We also have donated cars to people who lost their vehicles in the Paradise Campfire of 2018, as well as funding an end to polio in 2016-2017. Cars 2nd Chance pursues opportunities and partnerships that will help us reduce suffering, improve quality of life, and lift each other up through car donations.

We have explained our process quite a bit on our website, but to reiterate, the donation process is quite simple. If you have a car you want to donate — regardless if it is running or not — contact us here and we will walk you through the process.  

Look, we know that 2020 has been life-changing for everyone. Some have been using the additional time at home to their benefit. They have been cleaning and organizing their closets, getting rid of old furniture that no longer serves them, emptying old storage lockers of items they no longer need and finding new homes for their old cars. If you have a vehicle that is taking up space in your garage that you don’t plan to repair or use any longer, why not donate it to Cars 2nd Chance?

There are so many benefits to giving donated items at the end of the year. It’s good for tax deductions if you’re seeking a tax break. It’s a great lesson you can share with your children and grandchildren about helping others who are less fortunate. Plus, it feels good, knowing that your donation is benefiting charities who are doing their part to make the world a better place. 

If you do not have a vehicle to donate but you would like to help Cars 2nd Chance, we accept cash donations as well. By donating money, you can still get the tax benefits and the good feelings of being a philanthropist.

Lastly, another way you can help Cars 2nd Chance is to purchase one of our donated vehicles. If you, a family member, or a friend of yours is in the market for a used vehicle, Cars 2nd Chance has some amazing cars for sale that might surprise you! Some of our favorites are this beautiful 1971 VW Beetle show car, and a lovely Mazda Miata. Not all donated cars are junkers, that’s for sure!

Cars 2nd Chance is making a positive impact on Rotary Clubs and communities internationally as well. For example, the Rotary Club of San Felipe in Baja, Mexico, is also sharing our mission and seeking car donations. Truly, the combined efforts of our partners are inspiring. Check out the full list of our partners to see who is going the extra mile to give others a chance at a better life.

If you want to buy a donated vehicle, give cash, or donate a vehicle to Cars 2nd Chance, December is the best time to give! To celebrate the religious holidays and show the children in your life about giving, donate your unused car to help someone recover from a natural disaster, or receive food from the Food Bank. To begin, reach out to to donate a vehicle that runs, or send an email to to donate a car that does not run. We appreciate your love and support!

Putting Gratitude to Work for You

In the theme of giving thanks during November, let’s talk about gratitude.

Back in the early 2000s, Dave and Mary Kemnitz had a problem that needed solving. At their auto repair shop, D & H Enterprises in Concord, California, they were continually faced with disposing of vehicles that their customers did not want any longer.  Most donation centers had huge administrative fees and they kept thinking that there must be a better way.  Suddenly These abandoned, unwanted cars gave them an idea. As long-standing Rotarians, they knew that many underprivileged families could use these vehicles. When they looked around at the options to donate these vehicles, they were sickened by the huge admin fee the donation centers were taking. 

 So, they decided to start two initiatives: Cars 2nd Chance in 2008, working with their local Rotary Club’s Foundation and since that was so successful, began developing Cars for Careers for their automotive trade organization, ASCCA’s Educational Foundation, ASCEF in 2009. Rotary donated cars were either repaired and sold directly from their business or sent directly to Copart Auto Auction to be sold. The Cars for Career’s vehicles went straight to the auction, and ASCCA shops from all over the state began directing cars to the project. Through the years, cars have either been repaired and sold to needy families, repaired and donated to needy families, or sent directly to auction. The proceeds changed many lives. When the cars were repaired, they could either be donated to families who needed them or sell the vehicles, and the proceeds would provide money to these two organizations. What a brilliant solution!

 We are grateful that Dave and Mary Kemnitz have been tireless in their efforts to accept donated cars and get them operating again over the years. Today, these cars have a second chance at serving those who need them. Additionally, these cars allow automotive repair students the opportunity to get their hands on a vehicle, learn how to repair it, and feel good knowing that their class project is doing good for the community at large. We believe that’s a complete cycle of putting gratitude to work for you.

 So now, let’s talk about those folks who want to put their gratitude to work. 

 Some people feel the need to donate their cars to help others because they are in an excellent financial position. If you have an older car that you are considering donating, you can get a tax deduction for the donation. Here’s how: 

  • First, you must donate the car to a qualifying charity. Donating it to a family member won’t qualify for a deduction.
  • Second, you must itemize deductions on Schedule A. The deduction is generally the sales proceeds from selling the car. There are exceptions if the charity keeps the vehicle for business purposes or donates it to a needy person.
  • Third, the deduction cannot exceed 50% of your adjusted gross income. The charity will provide you with a Form 1098-C that will tell you the amount the car was sold. 
  • Fourth, you must attach Form 8283 to your tax return if claiming a deduction greater than $500.

 If you want to put gratitude to work for you, consider donating your vehicle to Cars 2nd Chance. If you’re going to set an excellent example for your family, consider making this a family project, so your children learn the positive benefits of helping others. To demonstrate and show the children in your life about gratitude, donate your unused car to help someone recover from a natural disaster, or receive food from the Food Bank. To begin, reach out to to donate a vehicle that runs, or send an email to to donate a car that does not. 

 For you, we are forever grateful!

Cars 2nd Chance & Rotary Partner Highlight

As the COVID-19 epidemic continues to ravage the world, there’s one particular population that is unable to stay completely safe: prisoners and inmates throughout California’s criminal justice system. Thankfully, there are amazing organizations like the California Re-Entry Program, that are working to assist people incarcerated in California prisons, even during this pandemic! Keep reading to learn more about the important work these social justice warriors are fighting to do.

The California Re-Entry Program’s mission is to assist people incarcerated within the California prison system to a successful reentry into society. They do this by providing education, as well as connecting them to resources before their release, to help reduce recidivism rates. Recidivism is the tendency of those incarcerated to commit new offenses and wind back up incarcerated. As recidivism rates among formerly incarcerated people are particularly high in California, the California Re-Entry Program works with those incarcerated to get them fully integrated back into society in a number of ways.
The California Re-Entry Program team assists in developing parole plans, solid relapse prevention plans, and social skills among their clients. They also hold weekly life-skills workshops, coordinate clients’ reentry needs with their California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation counselor, and assist in obtaining services in the communities of reentry. The Re-Entry team also helps to promote public support for reentry programs by advocating publicly for reentry reforms and providing a model for reentry programs that could be replicated in all California prisons.

The California Re-Entry Program is made up of a dedicated team of volunteers from all around the San Francisco Bay Area. This team visits, advises, and counsels men incarcerated at San Quentin State Prison on a monthly basis. They provide drop-in assistance on-site, including county resource guides, financial aid applications and information, as well as GED program info, and information on employment opportunities.
They also provide long-term case management for clients who need long-term planning assistance with employment, education, medical needs, substance abuse treatment, and housing. In addition, the Re-Entry team helps with special needs assistance, providing parole clothing, workshops, and training to both clients and volunteers, to ensure new resources and the most accurate and quality information is what their clients receive.

If you or someone you know wants to get involved with this fantastic organization dedicated to assisting people incarcerated within California, you can do so here. If you’d like to donate, you can do so here. Please share this article with anyone you feel might be interested in learning more about the California Re-Entry Program and the amazing work they do for their clients. For more information about the California Re-Entry Program , check out their website:

Teaching Our Children About Gratitude

We do our best to teach our kids how to be good people, but sometimes as adults, we come off as cynical. We don’t realize, but our words and ways of thinking have a drastic impact on our kids, especially during difficult times like the world is experiencing these days. It’s easy to complain and whine about the current state of affairs, but in doing so, we can get stuck in that type of mentality. To help your kids learn and benefit more from the attitude of gratitude, you can help them to look at their situations from a point of appreciation rather than from a deficit. Here are some easy ways to help foster that attitude of gratitude at home:

Always say please and thank you.

This is a simple way to start working on the attitude of gratitude. By making it a habit to always say please or thank you, you teach your kids about mutual respect and common decency. This will help them later on in life, as they can then express their gratitude more freely, and help them form stronger bonds in the rest of their relationships.

 Send out thank you cards.

Though an old-fashioned gesture, having your child send out thank you cards after a birthday party or a playdate will help them to see the value in taking the time out of their day to convey their gratitude to others. You can make it fun by letting them create or pick out the thank you cards, and have them write a little note on each one. They’ll carry this practice into adulthood, and will encourage them to appreciate their relationships that much more when they take the time to put it into action.

 Practice sharing things you’re grateful for as a family.

Dinnertime is a great way to practice the attitude of gratitude. If you already pray as a family, take the time to have each person say what they’re thankful for. And for those who don’t pray, you can still have a family talk about what things you’re grateful for from the day.

 Everyone likes compliments, so verbalizing when you like someone’s new haircut or when they’ve done something worth noting is a win-win! Not only are you helping to brighten someone’s day, but you’re showing your kids that it’s okay to let others know when you appreciate them.

 Always try to mention the positive in the situation.

There are always bad days, but it’s best not to get bogged down when you have them. A simple way to teach your kids to stay positive is to look at the silver lining in every situation. For example, if you’ve had a bad day at work, instead of continuing to complain about it after you’ve vented, take a second and step back. You’re home now, and the day is over. Now you can relax and let the worry and stress from the day melt away! Showing your kids that it’s okay to vent and then turn the situation around into a positive will help further entrench the attitude of gratitude in their minds in normal day-to-day interactions. 


If you’d like to really show the children in your life about gratitude, we have an idea for you!  Donate your unused car to help someone recover from a natural disaster. To begin, reach out to to donate a vehicle that runs, or send an email to to donate a vehicle that does not. 


For more information about how the donated cars we receive help provide food for the hungry, check out our respective websites: and


When we give of ourselves, it doesn’t matter how old we are. We can all learn a thing or two about living a life of gratitude.

Contra Costa County Historical Society

Contra Costa is one of the many long-standing counties in the Bay Area, with a wide and varied history worthy of protecting and propagating to the fullest. Charged with the care and keeping of Contra Costa County’s History Center, the Contra Costa County Historical Society takes its mission to heart. Its collection of records and artifacts catalog the rich history of the region. This dedicated organization takes pride in preserving, protecting, and providing public access to the documents and heritage of Contra Costa County. 


With various available research, photo, and essay databases, Contra Costa County’s selection of historical materials is vast. It nods to a long and storied history of the county’s beginnings, and the people, events, and historical places and things that make this county unique. You can even buy a variety of gently used books through their bookstore. Many of them have their own unique and personal history. 


In addition to its many records and resources, Contra Costa County’s Historical Society also posts the CCCHS Quarterly Newsletter. Its goal is to spread knowledge about the regional history of Contra Costa County and California. In doing this, the newsletter aims to focus not on famous people, places, and events, but to highlight ordinary people within the county and how they went about living their lives.


If you or someone you know wants to become a member of this fantastic organization dedicated to preserving Contra Costa’s history, you can do so here. Whether you join as an Individual, Couple, Sponsor, or Patron, your membership is appreciated and welcome. Please share this article with anyone you feel might be interested in learning more about Contra Costa’s history. For more information about the Contra Costa County Historical Society, check out their website:

Volunteering is a Great Antidepressant

While everyone gets down once in a while, depression in the age of COVID-19 is another beast entirely. With shelter-in-place orders and families sequestered at home, finding ways to feel connected to others and your community can seem almost impossible. Thankfully, volunteering is a great way to help combat these feelings while helping to impact your communities.

Service to others can be one of the most potent forms of self-care available. Volunteering can improve mental health while contributing to society. By helping people form connections over shared causes, we can feel less isolated, which may help ease the strain on those with depression.

While we make those connections, we also change the way we think. By meeting new people and collaborating on a common goal, we begin to see the world from different perspectives. Another great part about volunteering is that many volunteering activities are outdoors and active in nature. By getting outside and being active in the environment, even with social distancing requirements, we improve our moods and get much-needed fresh air and sunlight. Volunteering with animals may also have similar effects.

Of course, some volunteering activities will be unavailable until shelter-in-place restrictions ease, but now’s the time to get active! Check out your local volunteering websites and see if you can even do remote volunteering. There are all sorts of volunteering activities you can engage in right now at all comfort levels. Whether you volunteer for a local political campaign by phone banking or help deliver food and groceries to the elderly in your community, do some research and get to it! It’s the best form of self-care when you can help yourself while helping your community.

If you’d like to donate your car to help someone recover from a natural disaster, reach out to to donate a vehicle that runs, and to donate a vehicle that does not. Check out their respective websites and

What Goes Into an Emergency Preparedness Kit

While you may be at a loss of how to spend your time right now during the COVID-19 crisis, you may as well start prepping for when we can finally go back out and enjoy the summer! Though travel may not be appealing to some due to the current climate, there’s no time like the present to start getting your car ready to road trip. Read on to find out just what you should include in your emergency preparedness kit!

The things you should include in your emergency preparedness kit can be broken down into three categories: car repair items, safety/medical items, and miscellaneous items.

Car Repair Items:
In the case of a vehicle emergency like a flat tire, you’ll want to make sure you have an inflated spare tire, a wheel wrench, and a tripod jack. If you don’t know how to change a tire, never fear! Most car owner manuals include these directions and long with pictures of how to do so. But it’s always a great skill to learn, so practice, practice, practice. You’ll also need jumper cables, a tool kit, reflective triangles, and potentially a reflective vest so other drivers can see you on the road.

Safety/Medical Items:
First and foremost, you’ll want to pack a fully stocked first aid kit that includes any frequently needed medications you or your family take (like insulin or blood thinners). There should also be a supply of non-perishable foods like nuts or protein bars along with drinking water. These should be checked every six months and replaced when expired.

Miscellaneous Items:
As for miscellaneous items, you may wish to include a flashlight with extra batteries, a compass, a car charger for your cell phone, a fire extinguisher, duct tape, and a rain poncho. Depending on the time of year and where you’re going, you may want to include warm clothes, a blanket, a small shovel, and cat litter for traction.

While this is just an essential list to get started, feel free to add anything else you might need!

If you’d like to donate your car to help someone recover from a natural disaster, reach out to to donate a vehicle that runs, and to donate a vehicle that does not. Check out their respective websites and

Oakland RiteCare Childhood Language Center

Today’s children are tomorrow’s trailblazers, and innovators, and leaders, which makes their education and well-being of vital importance to the continued success of our society. Since 1983, the educational and speech-language therapists at Oakland RiteCare Childhood Language Center (formerly known as the Oakland Scottish Rite Childhood Language Disorders Center) have provided free services to pre-school to high school-aged kids and adolescents. Dedicated to supporting and assisting California’s children, they have invested time, resources, and care into our community’s youth that has improved thousands of children’s lives over the years.


Originally a philanthropy of the Scottish Rite, which is associated with the Freemasons, the Oakland RiteCare Childhood Language Center is one of the 170 Rite Care Centers across the United States. Located at Lake Merritt near downtown Oakland, this organization is a non-profit language and learning center passionate about its childhood language services, scholarships, and other charitable programs. This leading non-profit offers both neuroplasticity-based and reading interventions to children throughout California, as well as traditional speech and language therapy. 


With a team dedicated to childhood excellence and growth, the Oakland RiteCare Childhood Language Center’s overarching mission is to help California children develop their full academic potential. They do this by supporting student and professional education and training for the treatment and prevention of childhood language disorders. With services like Interactive Metronome, Fast ForWord, The Listening Program, and traditional speech and language therapy, kids work with educators to improve their speech and language as well as the development of behavioral, social, and motor skills. 


If you or someone you know would like to apply for services at the Oakland RiteCare Childhood Language Center, you can learn more about their eligibility criteria and application process here. Additionally, if you would like to donate to this fantastic organization making a difference in so many children’s lives, you can do so here. Your generous donation will help to purchase intervention licenses, assessment and therapy materials, and help to provide these much-needed services to kids in the community. Please share this article with anyone you feel might be interested in applying or donating, and for more information about the Oakland RiteCare Childhood Language Center, check out their website:


What’s Happened Since the Paradise Fires

California’s deadliest and most destructive wildfire, the Camp Fire, sped through the Sierra Nevada foothills in November of 2018, leaving a path of fiery destruction in its wake. With 153,336 acres burned, 18,804 structures destroyed, and 85 lives lost from start to finish, the world could only watch as the deadly fires ravaged Northern California. To the residents of Paradise, California, though, that loss cannot be quantified. They lost not only homes, stores, schools, and jobs; they lost their entire town. What was once considered one of Northern California’s most beautiful towns surrounded by wildlife and nature, was burned away in a matter of days.
Just about a year and a half has passed since this tragedy occurred, and while Butte County has rallied around the Paradise community, there are still countless reminders of what has been lost. While the Camp Fire has left a deep scar on Paradise that can still be seen in its charred trees and burnt out buildings, residents are working hard to rebuild. Almost all the debris from the fire has been cleared from Paradise, which at one time roughly 26,000 people called home. The combined amount of what has been removed so far is about equivalent to a total of four Golden Gate Bridges.

While many had to move away from Paradise immediately after the fires, about 4,000 residents have come back just over a year and a half from when the fires first began. Many of these 4,000 people now live in recreational vehicles like trailers and RV’s, but the spirit of Paradise is slowly coming back. The fire spared around 1,400 homes, and so far, the city has permitted that some new homes that are fit for occupancy. Some businesses on the main street through Paradise, Skyway Road, have even reopened their doors. Large signs loudly proclaim that life still exists in the small but proud Northern California mountain town, and people are starting to trickle back to Paradise little by little.

There are still issues to face, such as potable water concerns for certain businesses and residences. There are also obvious difficulties associated with rebuilding a town from the ground up, but for those who chose to remain or plan to come back, the challenge isn’t insurmountable. While it may not reach its previous 26,000-person population anytime soon, Paradise is slowly coming back, stronger and more resilient than ever. Time heals all wounds, and in just a year and a half since the Camp Fires, Paradise has shown just how strong the soul of the town truly is. While the old Paradise may be lost, a new Paradise is slowly on its way.
If you’d like to donate your car to help someone recover from a natural disaster, reach out to to donate a vehicle that runs, and to donate a vehicle that does not. Check out their respective websites