I Suppose Cars Might Be a Decent Source of Iron

Still, they'd probably be better off with a decent multi-vitamin.

In and around Detroit, an organization named “Mother Waddles” advertises their car donation program heavily.1 Through this program, one can donate a vehicle that’s no longer needed to Mother Waddles, and receive a tax deduction in return. Mother Waddles will then sell or scrap the vehicle and use the proceeds to help those most in need.

That’s a fine idea. However, I found the billboards they use to be somewhat problematic.

A billboard that reads “Donate a car, provide shelter”, with a photograph of a man holding a sign that reads “Homeless”.

Particularly because of the included photograph, I can’t help but interpret this as stating “We’re going to give your donated car to the homeless, who will use it as shelter”. That’s a terrible way to read it, and it would likewise be a terrible plan. Nevertheless, I saw this billboard frequently on a recent trip through the Motor City, and each time that was the thought which came to mind.

As such, you can imagine how taken aback I was when I spotted this alternate version:

A billboard that reads “Donate a car, feed the hungry”, with a man eating something

Even beggars can be, and should be, choosier than that.


  1. The organization’s namesake, Charleszetta “Mother” Waddles, seems to have been a tremendous force for good in the world.

    For over four decades, the Reverend Charleszetta Waddles, affectionately known as “Mother Waddles,” devoted her life to providing food, hope, and human dignity to the downtrodden and disadvantaged people of Detroit. Founder, director, and spiritual leader of the Mother Waddles Perpetual Mission, Inc., a nonprofit, nondenominational organization run by volunteers and dependent on private donations, Waddles believed that the church must move beyond religious dogma to focus on the real needs of real people.

    Nevertheless, her name is rather comical. ↩︎