Local Ministries

‘Blessed to be part of the solution’

Larry Pentlin, left, and Phil Goss of Midway Auto Parts, Inc., in Kansas City, Missouri, pose with some of the company’s trucks. Midway has been partnering with Catholic Charities of Northeast Kansas and Catholic Charities of Kansas City-St. Joseph for the Cars4KC program since the summer of 2019. PHOTO COURTESY OF MIDWAY AUTO PARTS, INC.

by Katie Peterson
Special to The Leaven

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — One hundred sixty-six.

That’s how many donated cars Midway Auto Parts, Inc., here have worked on and sold for auction or for parts since it began partnering with Catholic Charities of Northeast Kansas and Catholic Charities of Kansas City-St. Joseph for the Cars4KC program in the summer of 2019.

“We’ve been involved with Catholic Charities for going on the past five years,” explained Ryan Falco, Midway Auto co-partner. But when this program opportunity came along, it just “made sense for us.”

“When we found out Catholic Charities had this . . . going on with [Cars4KC],” Falco said, “we felt that we could get more money for the vehicles — which would, in turn, give more money to all the good that Catholic Charities does in northeast Kansas and Missouri.”

The fundamentals of the program are simple: Instead of trading in or trying to sell a car they no longer need, donors contact Cars4KC. Midway Auto arranges for the collection of the car they want to donate, then handles the repair and the sale of it. Profits from that sale go straight to Catholic Charities.

Cars4KC was first established by Catholic Charities in 2000 as a way for community members to donate unwanted vehicles to be auctioned off or sold for parts. And since 2000, 3,500 cars have been donated and sold.

When the program first began, said Theresa Gaul, Cars4KC program coordinator, Catholic Charities partnered with IAA (Insurance Auto Auctions) to work on the donated cars. But the amount of money coming back to Catholic Charities was low because of the hidden fees that come with working with a national company.

Switching to partnering with Midway Auto changed all that.

“The owners of Midway Auto are donors [to Catholic Charities], and they wanted to be more involved, so they reached out and wanted to see if they could help us,” Gaul said. “Midway Auto has been very clear with us to let us know what’s happening and costs associated.”

“They’ve been a great partner for us, and it helps that their owners (members of St. Michael the Archangel Parish in Leawood) are part of the Catholic community,” she said. “It has been wonderful for them to be able to support us in this way.”

Falco said he feels a bigger return for Catholic Charities is Midway Auto’s primary contribution to the program.

“Where they were sending their charity cars to before, it was an auction- type facility where people like me go to get these cars,” Falco said. “We felt with all of our different businesses —because we own car lots, but we also own salvage yards — that we would be able to give them a higher return on the vehicles, which would trickle down to them getting more money to help out people.”

Gaul said Midway Auto makes the process easy for Catholic Charities and the donor.

“Midway Auto does a lot of the heavy lifting,” Gaul said. “It is a really easy way to make an impact for Catholic Charities. The process is pretty painless.”

To donate a car, donors need only visit the website at: cars4kc.com and fill out the form. From there, Midway Auto will contact the donor to schedule the pick up of the vehicle and provide the donor with a tax deduction receipt. From there, Falco said 100% of the proceeds go back to Catholic Charities.

“We feel completely blessed that we have this opportunity to work with Catholic Charities,” Falco said. “We’re very proud of what the whole Catholic Charities crew is doing and what they’re achieving, so it’s a really special place for us to be involved in.

“It’s an honor to be handling the vehicles for Catholic Charities, but more importantly, making a difference in their directives and the programs that they’re working on currently. We’re very blessed to be part of the solution and part of the help.”

About the author

Katie Peterson

Katie Peterson attended Xavier Catholic School, Immaculata High School and the University of Saint Mary in Leavenworth. She majored in English and minored in music. Katie joined The Leaven as a freelance writer and photographer in May 2017. Her favorite assignment, though she’s enjoyed them all, was interviewing her dad, David, in 2017, after he completed his 100th shadowbox rosary, which he has been making as gifts since 1983. Katie’s full-time position is as reporter for the Fort Leavenworth Lamp newspaper.

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