NewsOK: Oklahoma City News, Sports, Weather & Entertainment

Edmond man with Crossings Community Church gives oil changes as a service and blessing

Charles Berryhill

Charles Berryhill PROVIDED

What is considered a basic oil change by recipients is a basic blessing to the volunteers.

That’s the way Charles Berryhill, 60, of Edmond, looks at it.

Berryhill is among the volunteers with Crossings Community Church’s “Mechanics in Action” program, providing quarterly free oil changes to church members who are single mothers, widows and women whose husbands are in the military and currently deployed.

More specifically, the volunteers do oil and oil filter changes. They check and top off engine fluids such as those for the coolant, brakes, power steering and the windshield washer solvent. Plus, they check the air filters.

“We have a core group of around 10 volunteers that have been participating for years but always need more men and women who have some basic knowledge of car care,” Berryhill said. “We get a lot of feedback, cards and emails, from these ladies who really appreciate this ministry at Crossings.

“Many of these ladies have limited resources and this really helps them make ends meet. Many of these ladies drive older cars with very high mileage and having volunteers to help maintain these in safe running condition is something they really appreciate.

“Sometimes we spot issues that make it unsafe to operate the vehicle and are able to let them know so they can take this to a qualified mechanic for service.”

Lance Ward, congregational care pastor at Crossings, also mentioned that aspect.

“One of the things I like most is that our volunteers report back to the recipients concerns they see that might need attention in the near future,” Ward said.

“I remember one woman whose front tires were well-worn. We let her know that she would need to replace them very soon. The next day in church, she thanked me personally and said she went straight to the tire shop after our oil change.”

The “Mechanics in Action” ministry is offered in March, June, September and December.

“We have been doing this outside in the parking lot of the Crossings Community (Church) but recently one of our volunteers who owns his own auto repair shop offered up the use of his facility, which gets us indoors in a climate-controlled facility,” Berryhill said. “We have been looking for a place indoors and really appreciate this opening up.”

The ministry services a maximum of 18 cars each quarter. On each of those days, they service cars from about 8 a.m. to noon.

“The need is much larger than we are able to meet today so we hope to expand this some in the future,” Berryhill said.

By occupation, Berryhill is a Nestle Purina Petcare customer supply chain manager. Only a few of the volunteers are mechanics. Most of the volunteers are working in various careers, but have worked on their own cars for years and want to help others.

“This would not be possible without the men and women who volunteer,” Berryhill said.

Berryhill added that individuals who volunteer “walk away from the events very blessed for helping meet this need.”

Bryan Painter

Read more ›