WTSP: Clunkers Program Hurting Some Local Charities

Tampa, Florida — The popular “Cash for Clunkers” program is boosting auto sales and manufacturing companies, but it could be having a negative impact on charities.

“Wheels of Success” is a local program that helps families purchase vehicles by providing low cost payment plans. The not for profit company has seen a drastic decline in car donations since the launch of the “Cash for Clunkers” program.

“We’re down forty percent in cars and that’s not only cars we give out, but we also get some our funding through the ones that we salvage, through our relationship with the salvage yards, and now we’re not getting those either, so it’s not only cars but it’s also money,” said Susan Jacobs, Founder of Wheels of Success.

Money the organization uses to help families with car repairs and preventative maintenance, but what really hurts the founder is seeing cars salvaged that are still drivable.

“The really sad part is the vehicles that were worth giving out, maybe they would have needed some repair, but we do that anyway, and that someone could have been working, we have a waiting list we get about fifty applications a month,” Jacobs said.

The Salvation Army car donations are down fifty-percent, last month they only received 15 cars after averaging more than thirty donations per month.

Goodwill has seen a surge in the number of car donations since the start of the “Cash for Clunkers” program.

“We had about 20 donations from May and June, but from July 1st until today, we had twenty five or twenty six, so we’ve almost doubled the rate we had before,” said Michael Ann Harvey, Vice President for Goodwill.

Goodwill believes they benefited from people whose cars didn’t qualify for the “clunkers” program. The other charities are looking forward to the program ending.

Melvin Beal | Tampa Bays 10