Recyclers Offer Relief: Hamilton charity turns recycled cars into cash donations

Hamilton, Ontario — A Stoney Creek, Ont. auto recycler is being recognized for its involvement in a campaign that turns cash from recycled vehicles into charitable donations for Hamilton’s homeless population.

Homeless Cars is a Stoney Creek, Ont.-based charity run out of local auto recycler Pic ‘n Save. The charity encourages locals to donate their recyclable vehicles for cash–but the dollars don’t end up in the donor’s pocket. Instead, Homeless Cars and Pic ‘n Save send the funds to six Ontario charities supporting the homeless.

Homeless Cars also offers tax receipts for the sale value of the donated vehicles as an incentive to participate.

“They don’t have to put their hands in their pockets, but yet feel that they can be generous and charitable, and we get this problem off of their hands—because there’s always a problem when people have an old car or a car they don’t need,” said Georgina Rosenberg, founder and volunteer executive director of Homeless Cars.

Donation proceeds go to six charities helping the homeless, including four based in Hamilton, Ont. The four Hamilton charities include Interval House, The Good Shephard, Hamilton Out of the Cold and 541 Eatery and Exchange.

The other two charities—Seeds of Hope Foundation and Ve’ahavta are Toronto-based.

The charity has offered the community the pleasure of getting their unwanted vehicles picked up for free, so long as the car has all four wheels and no parts removed.

Once Homeless Cars gained its registered charity status earlier this summer, the philanthropists managed to pick up 100 vehicles, drawing from an area stretching from southern Ontario to Barrie, with an average of 70 percent of vehicle value going to charities, once towing and administration costs were paid.

Rosenburg said she had begun thinking about forming this charity a few years ago when she found out that a similar company based in New Jersey, called Kars4Kids, gets a lot of their vehicles from Pic ‘N Save, which is run by her life partner.

“We thought, ‘This is ridiculous. There are so many people in our country, we need to do something here,’” she said. “Pre-COVID was such an awful time, serious social issues with homelessness and we see it here in Hamilton all over the place.”

Administrator Nicole Bryck said she was attracted to this charity’s authentic passion for a homelessness crisis that has only worsened in the pandemic.

“What’s going to happen over the next few months when it gets much, much colder?  Bryck said. “It’s not an option to sleep in a tent. Life in the winter becomes so much harder for the homeless community.”


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