Full service: Church gives gasoline to single moms
Amber McClain feels the intense financial pressure of rising gas prices. The single mom of one has been without a job for more than a year so when she heard a local church was giving away free gas, she didn’t hesitate to come.
McClain and more than 270 single moms in the area were treated to free gas, oil checks, windshield washes and even cold bottled water and food coupons on behalf of City on a Hill United Methodist Church.
The church started the annual Single Mom’s Gas Giveaway event five years ago with the help of church member Martha Watts. “Single moms compose the majority of families at or below the poverty level in the United States,” Watts said, “so we want to be able to help them.”
Watts is no stranger to the difficulties of single moms and remembers her own frightening experience of running out of gas as a single parent with her young children in the car.
“We were about a block and a half from the gas station and we had to push the car into the gas station, and my 6-year-old daughter was helping.”
Church members donated more than $7,000 to fill the gas tanks and volunteered to help service the cars. The event has grown so large that it is now held once a year at two area gas stations at two different times to meet the demand. Ninety-one volunteers served in every area from adding coolant and checking the air on tires to giving hugs and offering an encouraging word to the moms.
“Our church has the motto, ‘Don’t go to church. Be the church,’” volunteer and church member Bryan Reed said.
A congregation who doesn’t just share God’s love, but shows God’s love is exactly what the Rev. Chris Bryant desires for City on a Hill.
“I’ve dreamt all my life about pastoring a church that would be this active with their faith,” Bryant said. “The mission of City on a Hill doesn’t stop here. This is just one example.”
As gas prices continue to soar to record highs, the single moms were grateful for the help.
“It’s definitely taken a lot of stress and worries off just by gas because my tank stays on empty. I’m surprised it even made it down here,” McClain said.
“Free gas! Oh my gosh. It’s wonderful,” explained gas recipient and single mom of two, Lannette Young. “I mean the most money I spend, I spend on gas. All my money does go to gas.”
As the women waited in line for their turn at the pump, they were greeted by church members and invited to write prayer requests on slips of paper. Many moms were overcome by the simple gesture.
“They came in expecting the gas. They were excited to get the free water,” said volunteer Nancy Bowling, “but the look of awe in their eyes when you said, ‘I would be glad to pray for you,’ with no string attached, that was an aha moment. It was a God moment. It turned it from getting something free to suddenly being blessed.”
-By Courtney Ficken. Ficken is a freelance journalist based in Watkinsville, Ga.
RelatedOriginally Posted: May 10, 2011