Behind The Scenes: How Do We Choose The Recipients Of Car Donations?

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

Cars 2nd Chance’s mission has always been to help as many people as possible experience the beauty of life without being constrained by limits such as poverty and disease. However, we can’t do it alone, which is why we have partnered with so many Rotary clubs, trusts, and charitable organizations across the country!

Once you make a car donation, you’ll have the chance to select a partner from our partners’ list and support them and their community’s needs! The great thing about our partner’s list is that you cannot make the wrong choice– every organization that we partner with puts your donation in the hands of someone worthy of your contribution.

Each and every one of our partners is dedicated to a cause and fights every day to ensure funding and support for it. Food shelters, Cancer research, non-profit, you name it, we probably have a partner for it! In turn, our partners will seek out worthy recipients from their local pool and choose someone whose situation can be improved with your donation.

The work and the impact we want to do is gigantic. Solving global problems is not about finding a singular solution, but solving the minor issues of thousands of local communities. We hope that you, too, can join us on this quest!

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! Having a second look at your garage could inspire you to donate your unused vehicle and 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 vehicle that does not run. We appreciate your love and support!

A New Partner: Orinda Association

In this month’s blog, we are featuring one of our new partners, the Orinda Association.

Based in Orinda, California, the Orinda Association is a community-focused nonprofit that supports various local groups. They are a wonderful organization that participates in events such as:

  • Donate box meals to honor Contra Costa Hospital Workers
  • Orinda Volunteer Center
  • The Orinda Annual Classic Car Show
  • The annual Fourth of July Parade
  • Transportation for Seniors Around Town
  • The Orinda News
  • Cars 2nd Chance
  • Orinda Community Foundation
  • And many more…

Founded in 1946, the Orinda Association set out to improve life quality for those living in Orinda. They have multiple volunteer events that enhance the natural beauty, community-mindedness, and character of the Orinda community. The Orinda News is the local printed news delivered to every Orinda household for free, and it’s available online.

Cars 2nd Chance is delighted to have the Orinda Association as a partner. On their website home page, they talk about our good deeds through monies raised by donated cars.

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! Tax Day, spring cleaning, and the desire to clear out the clutter from your garage could inspire you to donate your unused vehicle. Your car or cash donation will help someone recover from a natural disaster or receive food from the Food Bank. First, reach out to to donate a vehicle that runs, or send an email to to donate a car that does not run. As always, we appreciate your love and support!

Why Spring Cleaning & Car Donations Go Hand In Hand

Many of us experienced during the first months of COVID cleaning out the closet, getting rid of the clutter, and making do with less. Were you one of those people?

Another thing that happened during the pandemic was that many realized we didn’t need to drive as often because we could permanently work from home. What a pleasant surprise for many business people!

Still, we continue to shift, pivot, and reprioritize our lives as we roll through the changes of 2021. This brings us to the idea of Spring Cleaning in March.

Spring Cleaning is a ritual many of us weave into our seasonal routines. We wash our windows, change our air filters, and replace the old with the new.

Car donations and Spring Cleaning go hand-in-hand this year because many of us are thinking about getting rid of things that take up too much space or cost us too much money to maintain.

For example, if you don’t need two vehicles at home and you can save on insurance fees by donating a car, you could save quite a bit of money for yourself. If you had a two-car garage filled with two vehicles and a ton of clutter, what would it feel like to clean out that garage? Would it feel good to remove one vehicle and a whole lot of stuff you don’t need?

What would you do with the extra space you’ve reclaimed? Turn that portion of your garage into a home gym? A dance studio? A rock-climbing structure for the kids? A VR gameplay space? 

Looking at the flip side, what benefits would come out of you donating your car? You might no longer have to pay for gas, insurance, or repair and the person receiving the donated car could have a better future because of that vehicle. Or, if your donated car was fixed up and sold, the proceeds could go toward the Food Bank and other worthy causes that help people during troubling times. How would you feel knowing that the car you thought of as clutter turned out to be a blessing for the recipient?

When you get rid of the old and worn out, you leave space for the new to come in. Who do you know that has too many cars? Cars 2nd Chance urges those who are doing Spring Cleaning this March to consider donating their unused vehicles — whether they are running or not. If you have a car 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! Spring Cleaning and clearing out the clutter could inspire you to donate your unused vehicle and 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!


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:

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

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

Preparing for Disaster

With all the wildfires and natural disasters underfoot, now is the time to make a safety plan and share it with your friends and family. It is essential to know what hazards your home and community are susceptible to.

Here is a list to help you and your loved ones prepare before a time of crisis strikes:

Inventory Your Household
Do a walkthrough of every room in your home and write down what items you have. If you have the cloud, perhaps you can scan upload a copy just in case one that is in your notebook, desk, or safe gets lost or destroyed. The last thing you need when coping with the aftermath of a natural disaster is to have your insurance questioning about what you had and need to replace. Another good reason to have an inventory list is to evaluate your insurance policy.

Double-Check Your Insurance Policies
Are you underinsured? Boy, that would be a bummer not to have enough coverage to replace your home and items if disaster strikes. You want to be sure the total you are insured for is enough for that just-in-case.

Create a Disaster Plan
First, you will want to start by having a safe place to meet. Think up a place or home that will serve as your meet-up location, just in case you become separated from your family. Talk to your friends and family. It’s essential that your friends and family know what to do in case of an emergency, and you are unable to return to your home.

Plan Ways To Communicate
Have you thought up ways that you will communicate with each other in an emergency situation? How will you contact each other, or find each other after separating? Talk with your family and about a place to find one another during an emergency.

Evacuation Planning
During a crisis, there is often no time for talking and planning, so you will want to plan. Does each member of your family have copies of your emergency contacts? You want to make a list of contacts and give it to each member of your family.

Practice your Safety Plan
Does everyone in your family know how to turn off the power, water, and gas to your home? How about first-aid and CPR? Now is an excellent time to meet your neighbors, when a natural disaster strikes, your community is who you will be surrounded by. You will want to know who they are. What is up high that can come down and cause injury, it is an excellent time to secure these items to prevent unnecessary injuries. Is your fire extinguisher handy? It is a good idea to check both your fire extinguishers and smoke alarms twice yearly.

Talk With Emergency Services
Knowing what your community plan, evacuation routes, and emergency shelters are located will help keep you, your family and neighbors safe. The authorities are an excellent resource to talk about what types of emergencies to plan for.

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

How Helping Others Improves Your Health

When you take the time to help other people through volunteering or donating money, it not only helps them, it makes the world a better place, but it also improves your overall health and wellbeing. Research has indicated that when you give, it increases your happiness along with your health. 

Increase your lifespan: When you help others, it’s been shown that it increases life expectancy. How? Studies have shown that when you volunteer at a therapeutic horseback riding facility for at-risk youth or serve food at a homeless shelter, it increases your ability to manage stress, decrease depression, and increase your overall satisfaction with life. Volunteerism helps alleviate loneliness. All of those factors increase lifespan. 

Paying it forward: When you do something kind, it makes other people want to do something kind. This can then ripple through your community making it a better place to live. Just think of how it makes you feel when someone has performed a random act of kindness that affected you. 

3. Helping others adds to our own happiness:  

Scientists have discovered that when we give back, we receive a neurochemical sense of reward. Sociologists conducted research following more than 2,000 people over 5 years. They concluded that when a person volunteered at least 5.8 hours a month, they were far more likely to report themselves as being very happy. 

  1. Reduction in chronic pain: 

When someone with chronic pain volunteers to help others with chronic pain, they often experience a reduction in their own symptoms. 

  1. Lowers blood pressure:

A study showed that when participants volunteered for at least 200 hours a year, their risk of hypertension decreased by 40%! It is believed that this is due to the decreasing of loneliness and the stress that comes with being lonely. 

  1. Has a positive impact on teens:

When teens volunteer, not only do they get better grades, but they feel better about themselves. Regardless of age, when we help others it makes us feel good. 

  1. Increases life satisfaction:

When we volunteer, it gives us a sense of purpose. When we have a sense of purpose, we feel better about ourselves. We see a decrease in depression and a reduction in stress. 

There are so many reasons to get involved in our communities that it can be difficult to see how it might positively affect our own wellbeing. What are you passionate about? At-risk youth? Veterans? The elderly? Animals? There is always a place to volunteer your time, money, and energy. Look for something that you connect with and feels good. You can’t go wrong when you help others!

Paradise Survivors: A 6-Month Update

The California wildfires were devastating and affected the lives of thousands. It’s been six months since the fires started in Plumas National Forest and spread across 20,000 acres of land. Residents had to evacuate and were in a state of emergency. Besides all the emotional pain each resident had to go to they also lost their homes, more than 6,700 homes were burned and destroyed. This fire set the record for California’s most destructive fire. How are the survivors doing? It’s still a huge struggle.

Thousands of residents were displaced, homes burned down, and left with nothing. Many survivors remain in rentals until they figure out their next steps and options. Others are still in emergency housing and government trailers. Residents are waiting for insurance money, trying to rebuild, or looking for a new place to live. These things take lots of time, money and energy. There are also many residents living in homeless camps in the southern city limits of Santa Rosa.

The only option is to start over completely. Furniture, vehicles, precious memories are gone forever. Some homes can’t even be rebuilt because the damage is so bad. Living in a rental is not the same as home. Trying to buy a new home is expensive, paperwork and applications take time, and there is no guarantee they will get the home they want. Only a handful of residents have been able to rise from the ashes and start a new life moving forward.

There have been less than 100 building permits issued since the fires when thousands of buildings were burned down. They are struggling to find time, money, and workers to rebuild what was lost. More than 40% of the homes that burned were not insured either. Those who lived paycheck to paycheck had to move somewhere else that had cheap rent so they could get by. The average local-area rent price has gone up 30% since the fires making it less affordable to more people. Those who couldn’t find a new place or family to stay with ended up in temporary housing from FEMA. The biggest colony of survivors is in the Sonoma County Fairgrounds RV park where 100 new trailers were brought in and filled up completely. These trailers are part of the disaster recovery effort and provided 400 residents with housing up to 18 months.

There has been a resilient permit center opened separately for the fire survivors who are trying to rebuild their homes. Officials have lowered fees for this center with promises to issue building permits a week after application so survivors can start building a new life. In the fire-prone areas, it’s now required to have fire sprinklers installed.

It’s going to take time to rebuild what was lost and the mourning over the lives lost will forever continue. A majority of survivors are still fighting the battle and trying to figure out how to start over. If you can help in any way, please do. Survivors continue to need our support.