Meet the Kars4Kids Staff: Amy

You know about Kars4Kids and the great things we do. But have you ever wondered about who we are?

We present this short series profiling some of the interesting people whom you may encounter when you speak with us on the phone, and some of the others who keep Kars4Kids up and running. Get to know some of the faces around our office!

Amy’s been a customer service representative at Kars4Kids since August 2014. She graciously agreed to kick off our new series.

What do you do at Kars4Kids?

Amy: I take donations over the phone, which obviously involves a lot of, well, talking on the phone! I also train in new reps. I show them how to use our computer system and teach them phone techniques.

What about when you’re not doing a great job at Kars4Kids? 

I love cooking! And skiing!

What do you love about Kars4Kids?

I LOVE working with people! I feel that donating a car should be a highly personalized experience. For us working here, we deal with donations on a daily basis. It’s pretty humdrum.

But for the donor, it’s a big deal! So I try to make it meaningful and personal. I ask about the car, how long they had it for, things like that. I’ve even had donors change their minds, believe it or not, when they started feeling too sentimental!

Any donations stand out as unusual?

I can think of quite a few! Here’s an interesting one:

Someone called us saying that his son was in a car crash. His son was ok, but the car was totaled. The problem was that the car was smack in the middle of the street, blocking traffic.

Then the sheriff got on the phone. He said we needed to get the car out within two hours, or they’d have to get it out another way.

We got busy. It took some teamwork and a few phone calls, but we got the car!

What do you enjoy learning about off the job?

Understanding the connection between mind and body. Specifically the books of Dr. John Sarno, like The Divided Mind. Dr. Sarno explains that the mind is composed of two parts, conscious and unconscious. The unconscious mind will experience stress or anxiety that the conscious mind doesn’t want to accept. So the mind will create a distraction so the conscious mind will not feel that stress. This distraction is often physical pain. He explains many ailments this way, including acne, back pain and more.

Finally, do you like working for Kars4Kids?

You bet!

Earth Day 2015

Earth Day 2015: Why Not Stop and Smell the Roses

Earth Day 2015

Earth Day 2015 is here and that’s an opportunity to celebrate the amazing world we live in, and all the resources we have at hand, all day, every day. We have clean water at the turn of a faucet, and we have an abundance of lovely fresh fruits and vegetables piled high and tempting at any local supermarket you choose. We have all these gifts and more and today, Earth Day 2015, the 45th Earth Day ever, is a day to contemplate these riches—to stop and smell the roses.

So let me tell you why we’re talking about that here, on the Kars4Kids blog. It’s like this: as a nonprofit car donation charity, we take donated cars and repurpose them. A used car in good condition will seem like gold treasure, sold to someone in need of a helping hand, on affordable terms; while older cars no longer meeting today’s standards still have value, once processed and recycled. In either case, the proceeds fund a whole slew of programs for children and their families.

Nothing goes to waste. We take these resources and find another way to use them. And in a way that helps those in need.

Today is a day to take stock, to look at our own lives and think about what we can repurpose, about the value of things, beyond the surface. It’s a way of giving back. It’s a way of paying it forward.

We have so much--it's good to take stock.

We have so much–it’s good to take stock.

A couple of years ago, we (the staff at Kars4Kids) created a beautiful feature all about the history of Earth Day, complete with green activities you can do at home or in your community, wherever you live. We took a look at it, and it’s still as gorgeous as it was when we first designed it (if we say so ourselves). We decided to update it, spruce it up a bit, and share it again, because it’s really, really good.

Extra bonus: a timeline of Earth Day milestones that you can embed in your own blog.

Why not check out our Earth Day feature (see it here: http://www.kars4kids.org/earthday/) and share it with those you love? Because it’s good to think about these things today, Earth Day 2015.

And while you’re at it, why not step outside and smell the roses?

Varda Meyers Epstein

Communications Writer at Kars4Kids

Earth Day

 

Beep Off: The New App to Combat Road Rage

beep off app Road rage has been a problem for years. In fact, it’s been a problem since the first horseless carriages rumbled down the streets, startling the horses.

Many attempts have been made over the years to solve the problem, some more effective than others. However, as is apparent to anyone attempting a rush hour commute, the problem is far from solved.

Until now, that is.

While Kars4Kids is generally well known for having a great charity program, we decided to focus some of our creative efforts to making commutes a far more pleasant experience for millions of drivers.

After some hard thinking and a lot of trial and error, we came up with what we feel is the perfect solution:

The Beep Off App.

It’s almost too simple:

  1. You encounter an obnoxious driver.
  2. You snap a picture of the offending car’s license plate.
  3. You tap the donate button.
  4. The car is now donated to Kars4Kids, and you enjoy a particularly satisfying commute to work!

This app has a host of smart features such as abuse tracking technology, selfie mode auto-disabling, left lane mode, and hands free donating.

We’re already getting feedback, and users are sounding very excited.

While it’s too soon to say for sure, this just might be the solution drivers everywhere have been waiting for.

Learn more and download: http://www.kars4kids.org/beepoff/

First Car Donations, Now Real Estate

Kars for Kids offers a way to financially gain from Real Estate Donations

kars for kids real estate

Way back when, most of us thought of charity as inserting some pennies into a charity box. Sometimes that box was designated for a specific church or synagogue and sometimes it was generic charity. Panhandling has virtually been common practice since the first days of creation.

In modern times as infrastructures and economics get more intricate and complicated the United States government through the IRS has found ways to encourage people to donate to charity and at the same time have gains and accountability as well.

Giving to charity has evolved from dropping those pennies into the can to donating cars, boats, and lots more. Recently there has been a new method of giving to charity and that is donating actual land/property. Many express amazement at what people are actually parting with. When it was cars we were astounded, as this is a legal piece of property and quite valuable at that. Now people aren’t just writing checks but giving full pieces of land, sometimes with fully functional homes built on them!

As with all charity donations each type of donation has its own laws and regulations. Many want to get rid of their property but don’t know how to go about it. What will they gain? Will it be easy? Will it go to a legitimate cause?

Kars4Kids recently stepped in to fill this need.

Eli Fried, Financial Director of Kars4Kids Real Estate Division says there are two major reasons why donating a home or parcel of land to a charity may be attractive. Many properties can be difficult to sell. There may possibly be even years where the property just sits there and the owners wait anxiously to sell it and make back what they put into it. Or the property has too many things to repair and it is just too costly both in time and in money for the owners who have since moved on and wish to be rid of this headache. Donating it on the other hand is quick and painless.

The second main benefit includes the potential tax value one can ultimately gain from a property donation. Firstly, there’s the actual fair market appraisal value that is allowed for the deduction. On that amount one will not pay taxes. An example would be if one made $200,000 during that fiscal year and the property was valued at $70,000 then that person will only pay taxes on $130,000. Not only that, but if this property was owned for more than a year and now it’s donated and it went up in value, the capital gains will not be taxed as well. Pretty cool!

So it’s essentially this advantage of having a piece of property taken off one’s hands when it is just a source of anxiety that is a major contributor to why one would donate their house or piece of land to a charity. They want to part with it, get some value, stop paying bills, and stop worrying about liabilities associated with owning a piece of land.

So where does the money actually go? Kars for Kids funds many amazing educational and supplemental programs for Jewish children throughout the United States. Helping keep young teenagers off the streets over the weekends, helping families unite and enjoy quality bonding time, helping children with clothing and school supply drives. These are just some of the programs which the Kars4Kids Real estate is able to assist when someone donates a piece of property.

When a potential donor calls Kars4Kids to weigh their options and see if this is a good idea for them, they get a full financial assessment.  Eli Fried and his team evaluate the property and provide appropriate advice for what can be done.

When looking around and seeing what value there is in donating a piece of property to a charity getting financial sound advice goes a long way. Kars for Kids may be a great way to go.

New Hope for Hurricane Sandy Victims

FEMA Decides to Reopen Claims for Hurricane Sandy Victims

hurricane sandy flooding 001 Hurricane Sandy Flooding 002 hurricane sandy flooding 003

Impending natural disaster is announced. They name it “Hurricane Sandy”.

51 human beings in Haiti are killed by the storm. 69 in Canada and other countries.

A total death toll of 285 human lives killed either directly or indirectly by this storm. Mostly by drowning according to a report from the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention.

110 homes burn to the ground in Breezy Point area of Queens, N.Y.

650,000 homes flooded. Either damaged or completely destroyed – homeowner & residential property claims numbered 328,946 for a total of $1.56 billion in NJ & 501,642 for a total of $2.1 billion in NY

Auto claims numbered 54,642 for a total of $530 million in NJ & 109,833 for a total of $1.5 billion in NY

9,000 people seek shelter in 171 Red Cross locations.

An estimated $65 billion in losses.

200K small business closures.

6 NYC hospitals were closed and 2 NJ hospitals evacuated.

67% of NJ renter registrants with FEMA are low income families.

All in all this was a disaster that the east coast hadn’t faced in many many years. Innocent lives taken, people unable to be cared for in hospitals and millions of personal assets lost to people who couldn’t afford to lose them.

FEMA was able to help a segment of the population. Many were left without the recovery they needed.
Now, over two years later with the efforts of government officials including NJ Senators Robert Menendez and Cory Booker along with NY Senators Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand and NYS attorney general who has been investigating under criminal charges the lack of payments to victims of the hurricane, FEMA has now decided to reopen all of those claims.

As a public service announcement Kars4Kids is advising everyone who still may have some claims unfulfilled to immediately contact FEMA to get what they deserve.

We hope that there won’t be future disasters like this. Many many people suffered tremendously. At least those that did suffer will hopefully be compensated now.

References:

Some Hurricane Sandy Stats

CNN Hurricane Sandy Stats 002

USA Today Hurricane Sandy facts

www.dosomething.org 11 facts

www.theguardian.com Hurricane Sandy

www.nytimes.com FEMA Reviews Hurricane Sandy Claims

Vehicle Donation Process Explained – Part VII by Kars for Kids

Clarifying the fine points of a car donation to a charity

cash - Kars for Kids

So where does the money actually go?

This is probably the second most if not the most favorite question potential donors ask Kars4Kids when they call to find out information about donating their car. Pretty valid question I’d say. People just don’t give things away just like that. This is especially the case with regard to solicitors and especially to big pieces of property likes homes, land, or any type of vehicle.

Some car donors or any charitable donors have been burned or duped in the past by various charities. There are scandals out the window in the legal offices around the country. Scams are rampant at charities and businesses alike. These people whether they’ve been victims of these incidents or not don’t want to be the next one to experience a scam.

People we talk to often find it incredulous when people simply call and just hand over a legally owned piece of property with all of its potential ramifications that can occur. An ad on the radio or a classified ad in their local circular or even a TV commercial should never be the determining factor whether one will purchase a product or contribute to a charity.

Those that do ask that question “so where does the money go” are doing their due diligence and being responsible about their finances, about their reputations, and about their lives.

One specific point to share with a caller is what percentage of the donation actually goes to the charity and to its intended purpose. There are many charities who enlist the services of outside fundraisers who will advertise and pick up their vehicle donation and share a percentage of the funds with the charity. The rest obviously goes to the fundraiser as their service charge. Many would be shocked and possibly horrified to learn that according to the Attorney General of California, as little as 19% actually goes to the charity. Now mind you, the charity also has its own administration, its own workers and expenses. So a very minute percentage ends up in actual programs or needy people’s hands.

Kars for Kids is very proud of its ability to do all of those fundraising operations on its own. They eliminate the potential huge sums that fall into the pockets of third party fundraisers.

Our customer service agents are prepared to answer any question that is posed. One question that they’re all 100% sure of is that 100% is handled by the charity and not by a third party.

* That’s not to say that Kars for Kids does not have its own administrative costs. Not having a third party involved greatly reduces those “fees”.

Prayers for Carter & Conner Continue – But Not Alone

Kars for Kids Donates SUV to Carter & Conner’s Family

2004 GMC Yukon XL

We’re expecting!

Joy! Anticipation!

Excitement and planning!

That’s what parents and extended family members feel in these moments when a new baby, a brand new human life will join their family. Each doctor’s visit is exciting. Names are discussed, baby clothes, strollers, and other paraphernalia is looked into.

If a family encounters even a small disruption in a normal pregnancy, the anxiety levels immediately go through the roof. When a 1/200,000 case comes up to a family that is financially strapped this can spell disaster. Emotions run really high. To whom does the anxiety fraught parent turn? The medical expenses, the trips to the hospital, the various prognoses, and more, are what this family faces. When various groups, charities, and individuals come and offer some help, moral support, advice, or financial aid this can help this family stay together and survive this challenge.

Mother Michelle Brantley and father Michelle’s fiancé Bryan Mirabal were surprised yet excited when they found out that they were expecting. The excitement became a source of concern and worry when they heard that Michelle was pregnant with twins which were conjoined. They were informed that there’s a 25 percent chance of survival, 40-60 percent is stillbirth, while only 35 percent survive past day one.

To help this family a bunch of organizations rallied for the family. A Facebook page was set up called “Prayers for Carter & Conner”. Among the efforts to help the family, Kars for Kids was contacted to provide a family vehicle for the Mirabals. Arrangements were made and Kars for Kids Spokesperson and Representative David Geberer drove 14 hours from Kars4Kids corporate offices located in Lakewood, NJ to personally present a 2004 Yukon XL to the Mirabals. The hand-off took place together with the devoted hospital staff of Wolfson Children’s Hospital.

See some nice pictures of the event here..

Every non-profit has its criteria for where there funding goes and how. Kars for Kids allocates the funds from each car donation towards educational and extra-curricular activities for Jewish children’s programs throughout the year. When a story such as Carter & Conner’s comes about, Kars for Kids decided to go beyond their normal fund allocation and hand delivered this car to help this family in a challenging period of their lives.

Kars for Kids wishes Carter & Conner, the parents Michelle & Bryan, the devoted hospital staff, and all of the various individuals and organizations behind this outpouring of help and love that everyone should be healthy, successful and safe.

Click on the link to find out how you can help Carter & Conner.

See this aired on The Doctors TV Show