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  • Writer's pictureGreater Springfield Habitat for Humanity

Thank you, Donahue family, for donating your vehicle to Cars for Homes and benefitting GSHFH

The time had come and a decision had to be made. But neither Leo Donahue nor his family wanted it to be a careless or rushed one. They wanted it to mean something. After all, this was essentially their family member, a 1999 Ford E-250 cargo van, which had driven thousands of miles through the backroads of New England to art shows for Leo’s work as a self-employed artist, to bring his children to college, their first apartments, and beyond. It had been an important decision choosing what to do with their retired family vehicle that was at the end of its useful life. Yet, when Leo’s daughter said “Habitat for Humanity,” it was suddenly an easy choice.

Leo’s daughter, Quinnen, had volunteered, advocated, and supported Habitat since her college days. First, she participated in Habitat’s Collegiate Challenge, then rose to the role of president at Ithaca College’s chapter, and participated in Bike & Build. Participants of Bike & Build bicycle across the United States, volunteer with local Habitat affiliates, and promote the cause to raise money and support for affordable housing.

“When you donate a sentimental item like a van, you want its final story to have an impact,” said Quinnen Donahue, who admitted she and her father initially thought they would donate the van to another organization. “After looking at the numbers, I said ‘Let’s give it to Habitat. It will go to a good cause.’ My dad said that’s is all he needed to hear. He and my mom had been listening to my first-hand stories for years and knew the value of this statement.”

To Quinnen, Habitat had been more than a volunteer activity. It had been a lifeline. For years, she bonded with partner families and other volunteers, learning their stories and sharing common interests.

“Some of my closest friends today, I met while volunteering with Habitat. Everyone is driven by the mission and it creates a bond right off the bat,” Quinnen said. “We spend the day learning each other’s stories and you leave the site feeling like you have done more than nail up some boards – you feel like you have made a difference in someone’s life.”

When Quinnen’s dad made the decision to donate the family van to Habitat in November 2020, he did exactly that. The kindness the Donahue family showed will be put forward to supporting our mission: empowering low-income families to change their lives and the lives of future generations through homeownership and home preservation opportunities.

After Leo’s cargo van was picked up, the vehicle was sold on behalf of Habitat through a national network of fully licensed, insured, and bonded auctions and direct buyers. Roughly half of vehicles are sold to licensed dealers at wholesale auctions and are reused for transportation. The remaining half are brought to auto salvage yards where the reusable parts, batteries, tires, and fluids are removed. Vehicles that can be recycled are crushed, shredded, and recycled into steel.

On a monthly basis, 78-86% of revenue from vehicles donated to Habitat through Cars for Homes support local Habitat affiliates. Based on a donor’s zip code or personal request, the donation is transferred to a particular affiliate.

To donate your vehicle to Greater Springfield Habitat for Humanity or to learn more about Cars for Homes, go to

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