For single mom Lorinda Ramsay the bi-annual oil change provided by Acts of Kindness is more than just a good deed.
“I’m so grateful for the opportunity to come to a single moms oil change,” she said, while waiting for a team of volunteers to finish servicing her vehicle on Sunday afternoon at Church in the Valley in Aldergrove.
“I have a daughter who’s 19 years old, and she has some challenges… I feel so helpless being a single mom sometimes because there’s always things that I don’t know how to do, or are not able to do, and one of those things is things to do with my vehicle.”
But Ramsay says the challenge goes beyond finding the time to do it.
“It’s not just not being able to do the things, but the cost involved with doing them,” she said. “And by the end of the month, by the time you’ve bought groceries and everything else, there just isn’t the extra for things like this.
“So, just to know that I can come to a place like this, and they care enough to do something like this is just so wonderful, I can’t even put it into words.”
The bi-annual single moms oil change is organized by Acts of Kindness (AOK), a charitable initiative based in Langley. Pastor Walter Rogers, with children’s ministries at Church in the Valley, estimates Sunday’s free oil change was the 30th held since it first began in 2003. The roughly 60 vehicle’s pre-registered for the event will add to the already 1,000 oil changes completed through the years.
“I grew up with a single mom in Calgary. I remember the cars struggling, the cars weren’t always the best maintained,” Rogers recalled.
“It’s hard raising kids by yourself, and so we just really thought, ‘What could we do to really service our community,’ and one of things we thought of was a single moms oil change.”
Prior to COVID-19 health restrictions, AOK also pampered the moms while they waited for their vehicle to be serviced. The charity would offer hair dressing services, have nail technicians on site, as well as a healthy spread of food. Sunday’s event was modified, instead moms were given the opportunity to participate in a self-care workshop, an educational exploration class, and sent home with warm winter clothing, as well as hair product donated by Chatters.
Leah Kwas said she knows firsthand how impactful the service can be.
“When I first started coming to the oil change, it was a make-it-or-break-it for me,” she said. “I was a single-mom, I have three kids and to be honest my car was the last thing on my do-t0-list.”
Today, Kwas volunteers with AOK to help pamper other moms.
“This is an opportunity for all these volunteers to come out and uplift the single mom, remind her of her major and amazing role in her children’s lives, and remind her that she’s worth it,” Kwas said.
And to those moms in the community who might hesitate to reach out, Kwas said, she’s been there too.
“If you’re feeling embarrassed or shy because of your situation, just know that I’ve been there, and I think a lot of the moms that are here have been there as well, so you’re not a lone,” she said.
A sentiment echoed by Ramsay, who has been taking part in the oil change the past four years.
“This is a safe place and a place where people really care about you,” Ramsay said. “And anybody in the surrounding area who’s a single mom that needs that help, it’s really a place that you’d be welcome and that you should come and check it out for yourself.”
To learn when AOK will be hosting a free oil change in the spring visit www.actsofkindness.ca. To support the charity, Rogers suggests the community consider donating their vehicle to AOK rather than trading it in at a dealership. Donor will be issued a tax receipt.
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