Marco Y appeals for car, boat donations


From his perspective of assessing donated boats to help swell the coffers of the Greater Marco Family YMCA, Capt. Dennis Parsons has some stories to tell.

Marco's Y has launched its end-of-season appeal for donations of cars and boats.

The most touching, Parsons recalled, was when a Marco resident bought his cancer-stricken wife a brand-new boat and gave it to the Y when she died just one year later.

“She had stage 4 cancer, and one of her wishes was to have a new boat,” Parsons said. After she died, her husband said: “I’d rather give it to you guys than sell it. She would have appreciated that.”

A retired boat mechanic, Parsons said some great boats have passed through his hands during the couple of years he’s been assessing and selling vessels on behalf of the Y.

“Generally the people are fairly well-off, and in many cases the reasons for donating are because of health issues or a death,” Parsons said, “and they always say the reason for choosing the Y is because the organization does such great things for the community.”

At the same time, he said, boats need to be in reasonable condition.

“We can’t take something that hasn’t run for 10 years and has trees growing out of it,” Parsons said with a chuckle. “I usually talk to the people and ask them: ‘What would you pay for this boat?’ and they understand.”

Around this time of the year, the Marco Y makes an annual appeal for boat and car donations, and while Parsons handles all the boat minor repairs and paperwork, Bill Walsh of the charitable Naples Auto Donation Center does the same with cars.

The Center’s main thrust, through accepting car donations, making minor repairs and selling them off, is to benefit the Friends of Foster Children Forever organization. But the NADC’s Vice-President Walsh also embraces the Marco Y initiative as well as those of about 20 other non-profits in the area.

“We’re delighted to partner with the Y,” said Walsh, who says the process for donors as well as ultimate recipients is about as simple as it gets.

“The non-profits e-mail me the name and numbers of donors. I pick up the vehicle, change the title in front of them, take the plates off, service and clean it and then sell it off our lot,” Walsh said. “Then I cut the non-profit a check.”

Average prices fetched for the cars are around the $3,000 mark, with mileages usually ranging from 70,000 to 150,000 miles.

Like Capt. Parsons and the boats, Walsh said most of his donations involve cars in fairly good condition. Time is especially valuable to him because he has to make trips from Naples to Marco to assess vehicles, so offers of complete clunkers are discouraged.

“We’re not a tow company,” Walsh said. “If the car’s not worth anything, I reject it. We don’t help people who want to get rid of junk cars, but don’t want to pay for a tow truck.”

Marco, Walsh said, yields about 40 cars on average a year, with about 25 of those specifically designated by donors to benefit the Y.

“Any time a non-profit gains a revenue stream without a risk or too much work, it’s a winning combination,” Walsh said.

To donate boats or cars, call Donna Johnston at the Marco Y 394-3144 ext. 125.

To learn more about the Greater Family Marco YMCA and the variety of activities and programs it offers youth as well as adults, call 394-3144.