Reinventing the wheels
By Deb Silverthorn
Jewish Family Service received a first in drive-up donations this week when Susie Salfield Avnery brought a 2005 Mercury Marquis to the agency’s Far North Dallas parking lot. It was her gift to the just-introduced Auto Donation Program.
“Donating a vehicle to JFS makes a big difference,” said JFS CEO Cathy Barker. The donations of cars, trucks, motorcycles or RVs help raise funds for the agency’s more than 150 mental health and social services. “The transfer of a title is easy and can translate into thousands of dollars that will help many people in our community.”
Avnery said she called JFS with a car to donate, not realizing a program was in the works. She’d purchased the sedan in 2016 after its owners, longtime family friends, had passed away.
“The car belonged to my parents’ dear friends Karl and Ren Kahn,” said Avnery, the daughter of Alfred and Ann Salfield of blessed memory. The couple, emigrants from Germany to Dallas before World War II, had been friends since the women met in a citizenship class. “My parents always set an example of dedication to community and to Israel, sharing whatever resources they had.”
Avnery’s father was a longtime JFS volunteer, often driving clients to medical appointments and errands. Now that Avnery no longer needed the car, offering it to JFS was the natural choice.
“To donate the car to the agency my parents so respected, made sense. I’m thrilled to be the first in line and hope others will follow,” said Avnery, whose involvement as president of Southwest Jewish Congress, past-president of Hadassah and Dallas Hebrew Free Loan Association and many congregations is a tribute to the lessons of her parents.
Jeff Sebert, a JFS volunteer, who initiated the program, said the agency will take all kinds of cars. “We’ll take cars with low mileage and those with more, cars that are humming and those that aren’t even running. It couldn’t be easier than to make the connection and accept the tax deduction a short time later. In the meantime, it’s a guaranteed opportunity to change lives.”
Sebert is arranging for necessary minor repairs to maximize the vehicle’s value, filing all paperwork and managing all sales transactions. Proceeds from the vehicle’s sales are tax-deductible and equal to its sales price.
“I’ve been connected to JFS for years and I’m so glad to have brought a new initiative to the table, and now to have it take off.” said Sebert, noting cars can be delivered to the JFS offices or arrangements for pickup are possible.
In the past four months, requests for JFS services and support have risen significantly.
Online services are still being provided, including telehealth, teletherapy and support groups. The Food Pantry reopened in late May with drive-thru service, and more than 4,000 individuals have benefited from that service, Barker said.
JFS is providing emergency assistance to those affected by the pandemic, including housing assistance, career and financial planning support and kosher home-delivered meals.
“We are lucky to have Jeff helping us receive and sell the donated vehicles and we’re happy to now have a plan in place to keep this easy donation option available into the future,” said Barker. “When a college-age student gets a new car, or an aging parent is no longer driving, we hope JFS Dallas will be the place people come to donate.”
For more information or to arrange for a donation, call 972-495-3677, ext. 301, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.