Story and Video by Peter McKee. Photos provided by Drive Grace.
Dallas Doing Good has had the privilege of partnering with the Communities Foundation of Texas for North Texas Giving Day over the past few years, but this year, we are doing it Texas BIG. It is the 15th anniversary of the largest community giving event in the nation, so we have selected 15 organizations to highlight leading up to Giving Day on September 21. Early giving kicked off on September 1.
We all know the feeling. Maybe you ignored that check engine light a tad too long, or you didn’t see that pothole in time to swerve around it. However it happened, you are stranded on the side of the road with a car that won’t work.
The wheels turn in your head about all the scheduling changes you need to make and everyone you need to contact, and not only must you deal with the inconvenience of lost time, but you know it will be one more expense on top of everything else to get back in the driver’s seat again.
Car trouble can be anxiety-inducing for anyone, but when the eventual difficulty of car problems affects those of us living paycheck to paycheck, it can be a tremendous setback– especially in the DFW metroplex, where we depend on our cars for so many aspects of our lives.
Thankfully, one couple, Michael and Monica McKee, saw this need and invited a few other members of their church to join them in doing something about it. After a lot of prayer and conversation over many cups of coffee at a local shop, they all decided to start Drive Grace, a nonprofit with the mission of assisting low-income individuals, families, and communities with affordable auto repair
“Very few people would say they don’t need affordable car repair,” says Matthew Whitington, the Public Relations Executive at Drive Grace. “For those already having financial difficulty, the recent inflation has put critical car repair out of reach, creating a severe hardship when they can’t get to work, school, and other daily living destinations such as the grocery store and doctor’s appointments.”
Matthew admitted that starting the nonprofit has been a lot of work, since none of the group that began Drive Grace had led a nonprofit organization before this point. Regardless, he says the “reward of helping those who need it significantly surpasses any challenges that have arisen.”
Additionally, between Matthew, Michael, and a third mechanic, Warren Roddy, they have over 60 years of auto repair experience, so when it comes down to the nuts and bolts, they know exactly how best to serve their neighbors.
And it is their desire to love their neighbor and their faith. That is the foundation for Drive Grace.
“We believe it is the heart of God to serve those in need. We are blessed to be able to use our giftings to do this,” Matthew says.
Drive Grace has also begun working alongside another nonprofit, Christ Haven, to assist displaced teens with completing repairs on their vehicles.
Matthew added that with one particular teen at Christ Haven, “Taking the time to be present and provide support with [the repair created a] dynamic mentorship between the teen and our technicians.”
Drive Grace is always looking for partners to support their ministry financially or by volunteering their time and skills. If you are an automotive professional/technician or if you’re gifted as an administrator, they would particularly love your help!