SNOHOMISH — An oil change helped change her life.
Susan Barrow was struggling raising three children on her own about 10 years ago when she went to an event offering free oil changes for single moms at View Church on Highway 9.
Car services were a luxury item for her.
“Going to get an oil change, you knew it was going to be 50 or 60 bucks,” Barrow said. “The first year when they looked at my car they said, ‘You have some pretty major stuff going on.’”
Sure enough, her car broke down not after that.
“Through them, I was directed to a local mechanic (Hilltop Automotive). They did about $2,200 in getting my car repaired,” she said.
At no charge.
Barrow wasn’t a member of the church at the time, but she became one.
She helps organize the Single Moms Car Care event that helped her so much.
“Now I am giving back,” she said.
Single Moms Car Care started 20 years ago. It is held twice a year, the Saturday before Mother’s Day and in mid-October.
Moms are the majority, but all single parents are welcome.
“Single fathers have come through, and single grandmas who are raising grandchildren,” View Church lead pastor Kyle Veach said.
About a dozen service bays operate at a time during the four-hour session, where the cars get serviced and detailed.
“We can take about 160 cars,” Veach said.
“From the moment they pull in the parking lot we want hospitality and care to be at the highest priority. They are greeted by a group of greeters to get checked in and valet service. Their car gets driven around to the back of the building for them.”
The cars are cleaned and inspected.
“The people who are back there are car savvy,” Veach said. “They’re checking off on their list: brakes, pads, this is going on with your car. It gives a sense of peace of mind to people who might not know the ins and outs of a vehicle. We give them to reliable people who we know aren’t going to take advantage of them.”
The women get TLC as well.
“We do manicures. We feed them either breakfast or lunch. They get free childcare,” Barrow said. “We had $40,000 worth of things that were given away. They get clothing, shoes, purses, gas cards, Safeway cards.”
The church raised enough in donations to give every mom a $20 Safeway gift card in the fall session.
It’s a family event, with food, crafts and entertainment for the kids.
Barrow collects items all year. “I have a storage unit of new clothes, shoes, purses, makeup,” she said.
The car care program fits in with the mission of the church, which is otherwise not in the automotive biz.
“These are things that we think Jesus would do, care for others,” Veach said.
“There is such a great need. Anytime when you are on your own raising children, this is one area we can make sure that we care for people’s practical needs. A motto around here is we want to know and be known by our community.”
In the fall session, Speedy Glass fixed window dings. “Almost 90 percent of the cars had some rock chip repair, from minor to larger chunks taken out of the windshield,” Veach said.
Automotive partners include Grease Money, Dalton’s Midway Service and O’Reilly Auto Parts. Other donors include Spark Hot Yoga, Elegant Details, National Achiever Services, Vibrance Salon and Capstone Home Loans.
Volunteers include Glacier Peak High School students and many other community members.
“This isn’t an exclusive church thing,” Veach said. “This is a humanity thing.”
How to help
The View Church hosts a Single Moms Car Care twice a year at the church at 17210 Highway 9, Snohomish.
Volunteers are needed to help with car care, manicures and child care. Donations of clothing, accessories and gift cards are needed.
The next session is May 9, 2020. To get services, sign up online.
More info: 360-668-6033; firstname.lastname@example.org; www.viewchurch.co