While some experts claim the recession is over, there are still thousands of Minnesotans out of work.
According to the most recent state numbers unemployment hovers around seven percent. While that number is slightly better than the national average, it’s little comfort for those trying to make ends meet. However, a Maple Grove ministry is trying to ease some of the burden for local residents.
Tim and Michelle Hiller run a car repair ministry through in Maple Grove. Once a month this couple clears out their personal garage and transforms it into a repair shop.
“We bring in six or seven mechanics and we do all sorts of car repairs for people that need a little help,” Tim Hiller said.
“It doesn’t matter what church a person goes to or what their faith is, we just want to offer people a break,” Michelle Hiller added.
While the ministry has seen a bump in clients since the recession, the program didn’t start when the economy took a turn. This Elk River couple has six years of car clinics under their belt. While those struggling financially are welcomed so are single parents, seniors, veterans and those with disabilities.
“We don’t make people jump through hoops,” Tim Hiller said. “If someone calls us we ask a few basic questions but we usually take people at their word because sometimes the biggest step is making the call to ask for help.”
The Hiller’s don’t advertise the car clinics, but every month they have a list of appointments. A local repair shop offers parts at a discount that the couple passes on to the car’s owner. From there, the mechanical team that assembles once a month installs the part for free.
Typically the couple hosts a car clinic on the second Saturday of each month. They turn it into event, offering free breakfast to those who come out.
“Helping someone with a car repair is just one less thing a person has to worry about,” Michelle Hiller said. “We don’t need to preach during the car clinic, we just want to offer a kindness.”
For this married couple of six years, the car clinic has become a passion and a way to give back to the community. On average they estimate 120-140 cars are repaired each year.
“It’s better to give than to receive,” Tim Hiller said. “We get tons and tons of joy from this and we hope to continue for years to come.”
The Hiller’s are accepting appointments for upcoming car clinics. To sign up, or to learn more about their ministry check out The Car Clinic Website.
Editor's note: How are you giving back to the community? Share your good deeds in comments!