Pampering is not on the to-do lists single moms shuffle through every day. And there never seems to be enough time to cover every demand. 

That’s why volunteers from Southeast Christian Church’s Men’s and Women’s ministries offered free oil changes for single moms Saturday, Feb. 15.

They planned a simple, practical gift. It became so much more.

The oil light glared red on Daija Anderson’s dashboard the week before she pulled into the parking lot at Kaiser Tire Pros Service Center near Southeast’s Blankenbaker Campus. Joe Miles offered his business for the outreach planned by Lisa Preuett, who teaches a weekend group for single moms.

Miles understands the pressures of single parenting. He did it for 12 years.

“Watching this come together was amazing,” Miles said. “My family loved watching God work. Three of my guys decided to be part of it as well. We ended up getting so much out of it.”

The afternoon became more party than task.

While volunteers from Men’s Ministry changed oil and filters, topped off washer fluid and antifreeze and checked the pressure in tires, Women’s Ministry volunteers served coffee, ice cream and snacks for moms and kids in the waiting room.

They played board games and talked while cars were serviced.

Three hours of service, caring and conversation created deep impact. Some stayed hours.

“I love seeing the full force of the church unleashed,” said Blankenbaker Men’s Ministry Leader Ronnie Cordrey. “Men’s and Women’s ministry came together to give a high-five and a hand-up (not pity) to 32 single moms in a tangible way. Since it was Valentine’s Day weekend, we gave these single moms a heart-shaped box of chocolates and served ice cream and good coffee while the kids snacked and played games.”

Anderson called the oil change a big blessing.

“I needed to take care of it, but it was so hard to find the time,” she said. “I loved talking with the other moms and volunteers in Women’s Ministry.”

Alayna Lofgren took her 4-year-old son Liam to the oil change.

“It was honestly a great day,” she said. “My car broke down twice that week. My oil needed to be changed, but I was struggling to pay for everything else. To have that free oil change meant the world to me.”

Blankenbaker Campus Women’s Ministry leader Christy Weaver said it was a “sweet” day.

“Women came for a tangible need, an oil change, and lingered for the deeper spiritual need,” she said. “Several women stayed an hour or two after their cars were done to fellowship with other moms and to soak up encouragement from our teams. One woman said it was the greatest blessing because she lives with her mom and this was one thing she didn’t have to ask her mom for help. Another shared her struggles with her children’s grandparents and asked for guidance on how to set boundaries. But mostly, we just laughed and cried and fed kids goldfish crackers and drank coffee together—because that’s what women do. And the men served those women so well, allowing them to pull out of there with peace of mind.”

Volunteers are already planning the next free oil change event. Moms and kids are all in.

“My son had such a great time that he thinks we should go get another oil change so he can have a party,” Lofgren said.