Honk, Honk! Driving Revenue

Over the past nine years, car donations have raised $150,000 for Interfaith Ministries of Denton (IFM), Inc. The car donation program, Interfaith Denton Charity Cars (IDCC), drives revenue generation allowing us to financially assist northern Denton County residents during unexpected, emergency situations. 

In 2007, Ron Shelton of Shelton Automotive was buying cars at auction and repairing them for sale. He heard Dale Hansen's ad on the radio about donating cars to raise money for the Dallas Can Academy. Ron figured that car donations can make a substantial amount of money for charity, and thought Denton needed some place local to donate. He talked to John Plato about the idea. 

John Plato, now deceased, was not only interested in cars, but also heavily invested in community service. The car donation idea peaked his interest, which he enthusiastically shared with Carin Horn, who was the Board Chair at IFM and his co-volunteer at Habitat for Humanity.

Carin Horn presented the idea to IFM's Executive Director, Condell Garden, and the Board of Directors, including Treasurer, Mike Carr (also deceased), who started running the feasibility numbers. The real work had begun: research, interviews with other charities accepting car donations, State of Texas training and certification, plus acquiring a used car dealer's license.

Ron Shelton donated an office in his automotive shop for Condell Garden to work and set up IDCC auctions online. For the first three to four years, donated vehicles were transported to Ron's business. He accepted car donations and helped Condell with the required paperwork, including title transfers. Ron actually donated the first three cars IDCC received. Thanks, Ron! 

Many sweat hours were contributed at the front end of what has become a very successful and long-term fundraising program for IFM. Back then, folks volunteered to clean and photograph newly donated vehicles.

You may want to try their tool of choice for detailing the inside of a car: a toothbrush.

Others took fliers to local car repair businesses and car enthusiasts, who in turn, spread the word. Some years have seen more donations than others, and some vehicles make more money than others. Donations definitely increased in the years IDCC could afford ideally located billboard marketing.

In 2012 Pro-Tow Wrecker approached IFM Denton about managing car donations and sales for IDCC via live and online auctions, which was more efficient than existing in-house procedures. The program moved forward, and Condell was able to focus more on other areas of managing a small nonprofit. Check out a training certificate she received in the early days of IDCC below. 

In 2016, we switched to an all-in-one service -- Insurance Auto Auctions (IAA) Donation Division. Donors can contact IAA directly at 1-800-269-6814. IAA tows the vehicle to their site at no charge to the donor. 

IAA sells the donated vehicle at auction, gives the donor a sales receipt for tax deduction purposes, and IFM Denton receives most of the proceeds. It's interesting to note that folks can donate more than just old cars. IAA also accepts trucks, boats, motorcycles, snowmobiles, personal watercraft and heavy equipment.

Over the years, IDCC has provided funding to support our mission of providing assistance to residents of northern Denton County. 

In 2015, Interfaith Ministries of Denton provided financial assistance to more than 4,000 individuals.

"It's been a good thing," Carin Horn said. "Our goal was to leave a legacy of something that would provide a long-term stream of income for Interfaith Ministries, which we did."

In loving memory of John Plato and Mike Carr.

To Volunteer or Not to Volunteer: That is the Question!

IFM Denton volunteer Cassidy Adams shares her thoughts on why people volunteer. 

IFM Denton volunteer Cassidy Adams shares her thoughts on why people volunteer. 

What makes you special? Maybe you can run fast, complete complex math problems, or beat the final level in the newest video game. Maybe it’s something more internal; you’re smarter, nicer, or tougher than everyone else you know. Regardless of what makes you stand out, every individual is unique in their own way. However, we are all connected by the same innate characteristics and needs that make us human. While some of these needs are universal (hunger, thirst, shelter, etc.), other necessities such as the need to volunteer seem to only affect some of the population. So what is it that causes these inconsistencies?

While there is not a specific gene that causes you to be born ready to give back to your community, research has shown that there are particular traits that can cause an individual to be more likely to become a volunteer. According to a recent study conducted at the University of Michigan, individuals born with the gene that leads to anxiety disorders are actually more likely to perform such pro-social behaviors as volunteering. Those who are capable of curbing their anxiety and developing strong social skills are therefore genetically predisposed to volunteer. 

However, perhaps the biggest indicator of an individual’s likelihood of volunteering is the environment in which they grew up in. Children who are introduced to the benefits of volunteering at a young age are more likely to internalize those behaviors and associate the act with positive emotions. If the child begins to value volunteering, it becomes more likely that they will find time in their adult life to give back as well. Through being exposed as a child, the individual is taught that volunteering is an important activity necessary to live a full life.

So according to science and observation, humans decide to volunteer because of their nature AND because of how their families chose to nurture them.

I can’t tell you for sure which hypothesis is accurate. As a volunteer myself, I cannot point out any one trait that made me want to volunteer at Interfaith Ministries of Denton. However, while my family never really exposed me to these types of activities either, I was raised with the mindset that I am overwhelming lucky to have what I do. I was shielded from the harshness of the real world, but was constantly reminded that most people do not have that luxury.

Instead most have to fight to get everything they need while I was being handed things I wanted.  So when the time came to begin volunteering, I readily stepped forward. To me it is more than an activity necessary for self-fulfillment, it’s practically a requirement. My parents did so much to ensure that I wouldn’t live a hard live, and it is now my responsibility to try to help others do the same. Regardless of our differences that make each of us so special and unique, everyone is deserving of living their best life and I want nothing more than to help them do that.

Interfaith Ministries of Denton is filled with volunteers and employees who each have their own stories and reasons for wanting to help their community. Each individual here is focused on doing everything they can to help the citizens of Denton, Texas become self-sufficient. We’re here and eager to help whenever you need us.  

Feliz Cinco de Mayo & Kiss Me, I'm Irish

Feliz Cinco de Mayo  &  Kiss Me, I'm Irish

Many Americans celebrate Cinco de Mayo (May 5th) and St. Patrick’s Day (March 17th) though they have no Mexican or Irish ancestry and little idea of what or why they are celebrating. In the US we kind of adopt and influence commemorative days that feed off of our collective desire for an all-day, outside party. Parade, yes!  Public celebration, yes! Food and drink, count me in!

Utility Assistance Available for TXU Customers

Did you know that in 2014, IFM helped 279 Denton residents with more than $85,000 to keep their utilities on? Electricity, heat, and air conditioning are all integral parts of a safe and healthy home! We are proud to announce that we have funding available to help TXU customers pay their utility bills. To learn more, visit our website at www.ifmdenton.org

IFM’s caseworkers will screen applicants for eligibility and schedule appointments accordingly. Applicants must bring proof of income and expenses. We look forward to serving more clients!

Thank you for your support!