Auto Angels repair cars for qualifying low-income families

Bellevue-- This month we're celebrating the "Season of Giving" with stories highlighting local efforts to help others.

Today, our focus is on the Auto Angels program at Bellevue Presbyterian Church.  The group is made of of volunteers who fix cars for people who can not afford to pay a repair shop.  The goal is to make cars safe for the people driving them and their passengers-- mostly their children.

The Auto Angels offers services to the members of Bellevue Presbyterian Church along with several affiliated non-profit organizations listed at the bottom of this article.

Soida Palacios says she's gotten a lot of help from the Auto Angels volunteers over the years.  One year they repaired her brakes for only $25.  Another year they gave here a free used car because the car she was driving was not safe.

Palacios says the volunteers' decision to give up their time and share their skills to help others is a "beautiful thing" and something she appreciates very much.

" It completely changed my life because I know that I was able to make it to make it to work to be able to afford gas, afford food for my kids at home, take them to school, be able to go to places that I know without a car I wouldn't make it there," said Palacios.

Paul Wehrle is an Auto Angels leader and volunteer.  He says helping people in this way is rewarding especially because for some local families, their car is their home.

"This time of year, it's especially poignant giving back, helping these folk out because if it wasn't for a reliable vehicle, they'd be walking or taking the bus.  A lot of our clients actually live in their vehicles. They rely on them for heat and shelter," said Wehrle.

Besides fixing cars, some of the more experienced mechanics mentor young people and teach them about auto maintenance.

Auto Angel" is a volunteer ministry through Bellevue Presbyterian Church.
It began in 2005 as a way to help the church's community with transportation needs.

Organizers tell Q13 News that although they would like to help everyone in need, limited resources of time and talent means they must limit those served to the following groups.

Attain Housing, Jubilee REACH, Eastside Academy, Acres of Diamonds, Congregations for the Homeless, The Sophia Way, KidREACH and Bellevue Presbyterian Church.