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Free oil changes for single parents? An act of kindness Hamiltonians need right now | TheSpec.com

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ADVERTISEMENT Newsletters Today’s paper Sign Inperson_outlinesearchperson_outlinemenuLoading... Sign Inperson_outlinecloseSign InsearchcancelTorontoVancouverCalgaryEdmontonWinnipegOttawaHalifaxNewsletters Today’s paper Manage ProfileSubscriptionsBilling InformationNewslettersSign OutThis copy is for your personal non-commercial use only. To order presentation-ready copies of Toronto Star content for distribution to colleagues, clients or customers, or inquire about permissions/licensing, please go to: www.TorontoStarReprints.comColumnistsOpinion Free oil changes for single parents? An act of kindness Hamiltonians need right nowBy Scott Radley Spectator Columnist Fri., Sept. 25, 2020 timer3 min. read In a year in which pretty much everything that could go wrong has gone wrong — you know it’s been rough when something called murder hornets doesn’t make the top 10 list of bad stuff — is there anything that could make us feel like there’s still some goodness in the world and some hope? Actually, yes. To find it, you’ll just have to drive up to the Really Living Seventh Day Adventist Church on Sunday when 40 or 50 volunteers will spend their day giving free oil changes to single parents. Yes, free. “It’s a little thing to do to show some love,” says the church’s youth pastor and community services co-ordinator, Benton Lowe. OK, we’re listening. Seems a number of years ago when the church’s head pastor, Francis Douville, was working in British Columbia, a single mother mentioned that she was intimidated about going to the garage to get her car serviced. She knew nothing about it and worried she was being gouged. The congregation there decided to start “Oil Change For Single Moms.” When Douville moved here to run this church, he brought the idea with him. Every spring and every fall for the past seven years or so, a bunch of congregants — all volunteers — have changed the oil and filters of a bunch of vehicles. Then checked the tire pressure and fluid levels, detailed it inside and washed the outside. No cost. No catch. “They probably expect to get a religious tract,” Douville says. “We don’t do that. We just want to meet a need and help people.” That’s nice but, c’mon, there’s gotta be something. A mandated donation? No. A promise to come to church? Nope. A vow of celibacy or a promise to stop drinking or swear off inappropriate polka dancing? Something? Uh, no. Some goodness, it seems, is just for the sake of goodness. The program has changed a little bit over the years. It started off for single mothers only. Then someone asked about single dads who might need a hand or don’t have the cash for maintenance. That made sense so the program was broadened. No, it doesn’t solve all the world’s problems. But it does address a direct need. One woman who arrived hadn’t changed her oil in 25,000 kilometres because she didn’t know she had to. Coming in might’ve saved her engine. That’s a big deal for someone who might not have a ton of money. “Their vehicles are probably pretty precious to them,” Lowe says. “If they have one.” Those who register in advance — you have to register at reallyliving.ca and sorry, Sunday’s lineup is full — come to the church parking lot at Upper James and Twenty Road near the HSR garage at an appointed time. Volunteers take it from there. There are some licensed mechanics to make sure stuff is done right. The filters and oil are donated by local companies. In non-COVID times the gym would be open so kids can play while the work is being done. When it’s done, folks drive away with a car that’s clean and ready for winter. Some still wonder about the catch. There has to be something. Some are wide-eyed the whole way through. Some try to give a donation. “We’ve absolutely refused,” Douville says. “Our agenda is strictly to help people.” They do as many as a couple dozen cars each time. He wishes they could do it more often and do more vehicles. Trouble is, they always have no-shows. Unfortunately, because different cars need different filters they can’t just offer a drive-up service to fill the gaps or even a waiting list. They are, after all, a church not a garage with all kinds of parts in storage. His hope is that eventually everyone who signs up will make it so they can help as many people as they’d really like. For no other reason except to help. Honest.Loading... Loading... Loading... Loading... Loading... Loading... Loading... “It’s about doing random acts of kindness,” Lowe says. Even in the horror show that is 2020, that’s still a thing. Thank goodness.Scott Radley is a Hamilton-based columnist at The Spectator. Reach him via email: sradley@thespec.comSHARE: Report an error Journalistic Standards About The Spec More from The Spec & PartnersMore OpinionTop StoriesLOCAL GUIDEMORE BUSINESSVIEW ADS Copyright owned or licensed by Toronto Star Newspapers Limited. 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