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Salmon Arm church group, businesses treat single moms to free oil change

“It was really just great to help out.”
Salmon Arm Great Canadian Oil Change staff, THRIVE volunteers and others helped out single moms by giving their vehicles an oil change free of charge on Sunday, May 7, 2023. (Royce Odiyar photo)

Mother’s Day arrived early for 40 single moms with vehicles in need of an oil change.

Members of a Salmon Arm church and several businesses got behind a Sunday, May 7 event for single moms at the Great Canadian Oil Change. About 40 vehicles were serviced, receiving oil changes, a car wash and light interior detailing as their owners, some accompanied by their children, enjoyed food and coffee, all at no charge.

The event was organized by THRIVE (Together, Helping, Restoring, Inspiring, Valuing and Empowering), a community outreach arm of the Salmon Arm Seventh Day Adventist Church.

“We had women there who were literally crying,” said church member Gratiela Pachmann. “One lady had seven kids and she said she was already two oil changes past due because she couldn’t afford it. Lots of single moms with all kinds of situations and stories, they said what a great idea to do something for the single moms.”

THRIVE’s Russell McCann also saw the need in the community for the event.

“We could have easily doubled (the number of oil changes provided) if we had more time and materials, but we didn’t expect that big of a turnout,” said McCann. “It was really just great to help out. The Great Canadian people said there were some of those cars that probably hadn’t had an oil change for a year.”

The Great Canadian Oil Change provided the space and labour, and other businesses got on board to provide oil, parts, food and more.

“We were trying to think of innovative ways to help, and I’d heard that (oil change for single moms) had been done elsewhere before, and I thought that would be really a cool idea to try in Salmon Arm…,” said McCann, adding the business sponsors were eager to be onboard. “We were just totally thrilled with the response we got from businesses.”

With the success of the event, McCann said it may return next year, perhaps at multiple locations or for a longer time period so more vehicles could be serviced. He also said THRIVE is looking at other events and ways to respond to different needs in the community, adding a free father’s day oil change could also be an option.

“Hopefully come up with some good ideas to help people in the community who are struggling,” said McCann.

Read more: Mother’s Day gift guide: Wheels, books, tech and more

Read more: Salmon Arm company puts free roof over community-minded single mom
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