After hearing several horror stories of dishonest car dealers and repair shops trying to take advantage of single moms, Williams decided to focus on helping women.
On a rainy night, six years ago, Pastor Chris Williams was driving home from church when he spotted a mother and her child (from his congregation) walking along the side of busy Highway 105. He immediately pulled over and offered them a ride home. When he asked them why they were going home on foot on such a dismal evening, she informed him that she couldn’t afford to get her car out of the shop .
“They told me that their car had been in the shop for months and they couldn’t afford to get it out. Right then, I decided that I needed to figure out a way to get my dream of opening a free garage off the ground.”
Soon after the incident, Williams, then a children’s pastor, borrowed money and when it wasn’t enough, he began to campaign for donations. Several months after, “God’s Garage”, a non-profit auto-repair service which focuses on assisting widows, single mothers and the wives of deployed military members was opened .
Crediting his knowledge of cars to his father, Williams said:
“My dad taught me the basics of car care, and I grew up watching him help people stuck on the side of the road. As I grew older, I kept telling myself, ‘When I’m in the right position, I’m going to help people.’ So when I saw this need in my community, I decided the solution was to surround myself with guys who know more about fixing cars than I do. Together, we’re making it happen at God’s Garage.”
Since 2012, with help from about 12 rotating volunteers, God’s Garage has given away more than 100 restored vehicles to women in need and repaired over 200 cars at no cost.
“There’s no greater joy than seeing a mom finally be able to start her car up and drive it home,” volunteer Harvey Yaw, 67, told People. “And when people donate their old cars and we fix them up and give them away, there’s a feeling that’s unbelievable. The people are so grateful — their emotion always brings tears of happiness.”
One of the beneficiaries, Shelby Grimet, could not contain her happiness when she was presented with a renovated HONDA 2004 CRV.
“It was hard to get a job because I had no way to get there,” said the mother of a 5-year-old. “There’s no way that I could have afforded to buy a car of any kind. It would take forever to get anywhere on the bus.”
Grimet, who now has a job at the museum couldn’t thank them enough.
“God’s Garage has given us freedom and has taken away a lot of our stress. Every day, they’re changing people’s lives. They’ve certainly changed mine.”
To make a donation, visit their website here.