A “Bug” for Giving


My Uncle Ferdinand had a lifelong love for Volkswagens. Ever since I can remember, he had a 1962 VW Bus. Ferdinand lived life on his terms and loved to travel all over the world. He drove his Bus up to the Arctic Circle on at least three occasions as well as down to Belize and attended Burning Man in it for several years. He lovingly maintained it and modified it to include solar panels—it is a textbook definition of a hippy bus. Over the years, he also acquired VW Beetles, doing all the work on the cars himself, and was a member of North Bay Air Cooled, a vintage VW club. When Ferdinand was diagnosed with prostate cancer, which metastasized to his bones, he started on hospice care with Providence.

As soon as hospice got involved, we started talking about end-of-life choices, such as what to do with his vast array of VW parts. He also talked about what Providence Hospice and Meals on Wheels had meant to him and our family over the last couple of months. He had modest means, but he wanted to donate what he had to these two organizations. So, after he passed away last September, we arranged that.

After making the donations, my husband, JL Sousa, and I had several conversations about the car parts. Ferdinand had lived in a mobile home, where one of two bedrooms was full of VW parts—including a rebuilt engine ready “just in case” he or anybody ever needed it—as well as an outdoor shed where he stored more. We wondered if we could make this donation another fundraiser for those two nonprofits Ferdinand wanted to support. So, JL reached out to the VW club and invited them to come by, take a look at the collection and make a donation they felt was fair and reasonable for it, with the proceeds going straight to these two organizations. Ferdinand had been very involved in the car club, so when they heard what it was and who it was for, they were happy to support.

The “parts sale” was a lot of fun: we enjoyed meeting the club members, who were very generous, donating between $500-600. We then matched that for a total donation of around $1000 split between Providence Hospice and Meals on Wheels.

I know Ferdinand would have thoroughly enjoyed the “parts sale,” and been proud that his lifelong love could benefit others facing end of life.

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