‘It’s been a joy’: Henrico non-profit repairs, donates cars to those in need

HENRICO COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) – One unique Central Virginia non-profit is helping people get their cars repaired and back on the road, for not even a dime out of their pockets.

The organization’s employees and volunteers work out of the backyard of New Life Baptist Church in Henrico.

Mechanics of Faith has helped a little over 70 people this year so far, either by donating a car to them or making hundreds of dollars of repairs on their car, for free. One of those people, Erik Bennett, said his car wasn’t running as well as it is now a few months back, until now.

“I’m a single dad and I’m on a fixed income and I had some car repairs that need to be done and I reached out all over and I couldn’t get to help me,” he explained.

That’s where Mechanics of Faith stepped in, performing what could’ve been hundreds of dollars of repairs, and charging not even one penny.

“Now I can, you know, get my daughter to softball practice, get to doctors’ appointments,” Bennett smiled.

Mechanics of Faith has helped 70 people this year so far, either by making repairs on their cars or donating a vehicle to them. (Photo: 8News reporter Sabrina Shutters)

If you get SNAP benefits, founder Jason Wells said they’ll fix your car for free at their shop or on their pop-up shop days on one weekend a month.

It’s a program that costs hundreds of thousands of dollars to run, and they’re only 16% funded. Wells said sometimes that means money comes out of his pocket to keep the organization afloat.

“We’re here to make sure people like Erik can get their kids to softball and, you know, things like that and not be sitting at the kitchen table saying sorry guys, you’re eating cereal for dinner tonight because we had to get our car fixed and couldn’t afford dinner,” Wells said.

Now, Bennett is paying it forward by volunteering for the shop and says the work gives him purpose.

“It’s been a joy, you know, to see, you know, to see people get help,” Bennett said.

They go a step further too, donating cars to veterans that need one. One veteran, in particular, comes to mind for Wells.

“I was like, ‘will this truck work for you?’ And, she goes, ‘oh yeah, a truck would be great.’ Uh, she goes, ‘do you, are you selling one?’ I said, ‘no, I’m not selling one.’ I was like, ‘this one’s yours,’” he smiled.

Wells and Bennett hope to continue doing what they know how to do best, helping others.

Currently, the organization is continuing to work out of a trailer, but they’re building up the work area behind the church to allow for more clients.

If you have a car or parts you’d like to donate or would like to give to Mechanics of Faith click here.