Car donations are 'lifeblood' for Car Care Program in Douglas, Pope counties

The nonprofit agency received its 1,000th car last month.

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Gary Mattson (left) and Hank Janz remove a wheel from the 1,000th vehicle donated to the Car Care Program at Koep's Korner in Alexandria Wednesday. The two volunteer their time to fix vehicles for the Car Care Program every Wednesday. (Lowell Anderson / Echo Press)

The Car Care Program wouldn’t be in business without cars. Cars that are donated, that is. And last month, the nonprofit based in Alexandria received its 1000th vehicle.

Car donations are the “lifeblood” of the organization and the only way it can do business, according to Kris Chisholm, executive director of the Car Care Program , which serves both Douglas and Pope counties.

Cars of all kinds are accepted, whether they are running or not. If the vehicle isn’t in good enough shape to donate to someone in need, it can be used for parts. Parts can be sold and the money is then used for repairs or other items.

“We need every one of those junk cars to get to the good ones,” said Chisholm. “Two out three cars are probably not worth fixing, but we take everything. We are blessed to get what we get, so please, just bring in your vehicles.”

The process to donate a car is simple. Donators just need to bring in the vehicle and title and fill out some forms. If the car cannot be driven in, the owner just needs to call and it can be picked up.


Donations are tax-deductible, said Chisholm, although he added that 90% of those who donate aren’t looking for a tax donation.

“It is just in their hearts to donate,” he said.

All vehicles are assessed with the help of volunteers and partnerships. American Solutions for Business donated a car hoist that was installed in a bay at Koep’s Korner, located right across the street from the Car Care Program office. Donated vehicles have to go through an inspection checklist, which is performed by volunteers.

Chisholm said there are a group of about 10 volunteers who work on the vehicles. In addition, the Car Care Program hosts Car Care Saturdays in partnerships with Alexandria Motors, Diamond Buick, Koeps Korner and Juettner Motors.

Car repairs are made on those Saturdays for those who can’t afford it. The facilities not only provide the space, but they also provide the mechanics, said Chisholm.

More than half of vehicles that have been donated by the Car Care Program have been provided to single, working mothers, he said. But the recipients don’t just get a vehicle. They also receive help with setting budgets and goals, and they learn some car care basics, such as checking oil and tire pressure. In addition, if they like, they receive spiritual guidance as well.

The Car Care Program has given away nearly 350 vehicles since its inception in Douglas County in April 2013.

For more information about donating a vehicle, visit or call 320-460-7911.


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Kris Chisholm, executive director for the Car Care Program, stands next to the organization's 1,000th donated vehicle in the shop at Koep's Korner in Alexandria Wednesday. (Lowell Anderson / Echo Press)

Celeste Edenloff is the special projects editor and a reporter for the Alexandria Echo Press. She has lived in the Alexandria Lakes Area since 1997. She first worked for the Echo Press as a reporter from 1999 to 2011, and returned in 2016 to once again report on the community she calls home.
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