Volunteers at church pamper moms and safety check their cars

It wasn’t just the free oil change and the detailing to her sister’s Ford Explorer that left Jasmine Gomes “ridiculously impressed.”

There was a free breakfast. A volunteer sang “Let It Go,” from the movie “Frozen” to her 3-year-old daughter, Samara, as the girl’s nails were being painted.

All this gave her mom time to actually finish her breakfast before she and her own mother, Tina Gomes, were treated to manicures and hot wax paraffin treatments.

The event, called the single mom’s car care clinic, was sponsored by the Clearview Foursquare Church on Highway 9 on May 10.

It marked the 24th time volunteers gathered to help single moms with their cars, said Tiffany Littlefield, the church’s community events director.

In addition to car care, volunteers hoped to give single moms some extra pampering.

Joe Sullivan, owner of Quality Hill Top Automotive, was one of nearly 100 people who volunteered their expertise. “I try never to miss it,” he said “It’s so much fun.”

Sullivan said he knows from his own experience the challenges faced by single moms. Sullivan’s dad died when he was 10, leaving his mom to care for children from the ages of 2 to 11.

Churches stepped up to help her out, he said. That memory is what’s led him to volunteer year after year.

He and other volunteers conduct safety checks on cars so that the women aren’t told that they need unnecessary repairs, he said.

At almost every event, someone drives up with balding tires that need replacing or the screeching metal-on-metal sound that signals it’s past time to replace the brake pads.

“I don’t even look at it as work,” Sullivan said. “You’re helping people out. It’s fun to be able to give.”

Nadya Demarais takes time away from her job managing the Lynnwood Grease Monkey to help out at the church’s car event.

Demarais said she first learned of the event eight years ago when a customer came into the shop saying that the church needed volunteers to help out.

Demarais said she became a single mom herself about two and a half years ago. “I know how hard it is to take care of your car when you’ve got to buy diapers or new shoes for your kids,” she said. “You end up putting everything for your car on the wayside. You don’t have the extra money to maintain the car.”

Going to the event and helping out makes you feel good, she said. “There are people crying because they’re so happy.”

The car care events are held twice each year, one in the spring and one in the fall. The next one is set for Oct. 11.

“It’s kind of the DNA of our church,” Littlefield said.

It started nearly 15 years ago when a group of men at the church saw that there were a handful of single moms who couldn’t afford to take their cars in for maintenance and repairs. “We decided to help them,” she said. “It’s pretty simple.”

It’s grown ever since. Now, it’s not unusual for about 100 moms to sign up.

The events are designed not only to help moms with car repairs, but to ensure that there’s child care available while the repairs and maintenance are under way.

Moms can stay at the events for up to two hours for meals and spa-like pampering, Littlefield said. “It’s just a time for moms to sit down and relax.”

Sharon Salyer: 425-339-3486; salyer@heraldnet.com.

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