Evangelina Quintanilla and her family wash cars in Central Fresno to help pay for her mother’s cremation. (Kerry Klein/KQED)

Evangelina Quintanilla and her family wash cars in Central Fresno to help pay for her mother’s cremation. (Kerry Klein/KQED)

Car washes are common fundraisers for sports teams and even charity events. But a story by KQED in northern California shows that the most desperate of residents there often hold car washes to raise money for a much more somber cause. In Fresno, car wash fundraisers are used to cover funeral expenses.

The story features a family of 20 that washed 75 cars to raise $600 for the cause. Funeral expenses for the family’s mother totaled $2,500 and that was just for cremation. They set up shop at a car wash in central Fresno and worked all afternoon in 90 degree heat to raise the money.

“The biggest donation we got was $150,” Evangelina Quintanilla told the radio station. “I think everybody’s been generous.”

KQED said Quintanilla isn’t the only one to go to such desperate measures to raise money. Quintanilla said she first considered begging to raise the money, but settled on a car wash instead. Her fundraiser became one of the many seen along Fresno streets where a quarter of the population falls below the poverty level, reports show.