I’m a big advocate for trying new things and often write about it on this blog.  Recently, I did something new and it was so easy it surprised me. And the best part?  It was for charity.  I donated my car to The Make A Wish Foundation.  I can’t say enough about how easy it was. Before we went on vacation, I made inquiries into donating my car, figuring it would be a hassle and take a long time.  I was so wrong, they were ready to pick up the car the next day—I wasn’t that ready.

Life With My Car

My Toyota Matrix was the first car I bought after my divorce in 2004.  It was literally a birthday present for myself, even though I hadn’t planned on it.  Previously, I had a GMC Jimmy and while I loved my truck, it was older and was eating 30.00 in gas every three days.  I didn’t want to spend that kind of money on gas, so I started researching vehicles and decided on the Matrix.

On a whim, on my birthday, I strolled into the Toyota dealership, just planning on looking at cars, not buying.  Before the day was out, though, I owned a cute silver Matrix.  Even with the car payment, I was actually spending less per month on my new car because all it needed was 20.00 per week in gas.  What a difference!

It did take some getting used to because I had been driving a Jimmy, which was bigger and higher off the ground.  I hit so many curbs at first!  But that car saw me through so much.  I drove it back and forth to North Conway, New Hampshire many times.  I would leave from work on a Friday night and not come home until Monday.  I’d stay at Joe Dodge Lodge at the base of Mount Washington, or I’d do hut hikes with girlfriends.  It’s amazing that this car, which appeared so small, would hold four women and 4 backpacks.  One time, it held four women, one thru-hiker from the Appalachian Trail and 5 backpacks.

My car, with its all-wheel drive, would plow through snow.  There were plenty of snowstorms that it went out in, with cross-country skis and sleds ready for fun.   My friends and I would go to a local golf course that allowed sledding and skiing.  That car took me on a lot of fun trips and even took my husband and me on our first trip to Florida.

Time to Part Ways

When I first got the car, I was determined to reach 300,000 miles.  But around the 170,000-mile mark, my car started giving me problems and the cost to fix things was going to be a lot more than I wanted to pay for a car that was already 13 years old. I thought maybe, I could keep it running for a few more weeks or months. But my car had other ideas.  Although it still started easily, one day I tried to move it and it wouldn’t go.  The breaks locked down on one of the back wheels and wouldn’t allow me to move.  My car made the decision for me.

Now that it was time, I made the call again.    The Foundation told me what to write on the Title, to take off the plates and to cancel the registration on the car.   All I had to do was clean my stuff out of the car and they would take care of the rest.  There was even an option if I wasn’t going to be there when they arrived to pick up the car.  Buying a coat is more of a hassle for me than donating my car!

I picked the Make A Wish Foundation, but there are plenty of other options out there, just go online and look up “Donating a Car” and several different organizations will come up, including Habitat for Humanity, the American Red Cross and Vehicles for Veterans.   And if you normally donate to a specific charity, you should reach out to them first to find out if donating a car is an option.

Did you ever prepare to do something and then find out it was easier than you expected?