Dozens donned scarves, beanies and coats to deliver $5 gas vouchers to unsuspecting drivers pulling into the station. Some volunteered to wash windshields as drivers pumped gas. Even after the group cheered as the last gas voucher was handed out just after noon, teens continued to wash windshields of incoming vehicles.
“We just really wanted to show them that we love our community; we love our area,” said Penny Cruz, associate pastor at the church under Eliud and Cathy Garcia, senior pastors. “We love people, and it’s been so awesome looking at the people’s faces like, ‘Why are you doing this?’ Because, just because we have a heart for the people.”
There were no strings attached to the vouchers. Drivers were simply asked to pay it forward.
Cruz remembered a time when she was in line at the movies and a random person in front of her paid for her ticket. The holidays can be tough times, she said, and saving $5 in gas can help.
Each November at Freedom Life Church is dedicated to giving. The week before, members gave blood during the church service, donating enough to help 70 people. Church members also would be asked to donate to help two orphanages in Mexico.
“If I could do this every weekend, I would,” Cruz said. “We’re trying to give hope.”
Tino Valenzuela, children’s pastor at Freedom Life Church, said he took on the cold, wet weather because he personally wanted to be able to bless people in the community. It goes beyond the different religions and denominations, he said.
Plus, he said, it’s not something that happens very often.
“I think it’s just people helping people,” he said. “It seems like that’s something that has become extinct, but there’s still people out there that just want to help out.”
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The Progress Times is the hometown newspaper for the local communities of Mission, Sharyland, Alton, Palmview, La Joya and surrounding areas in Western Hidalgo County. We have a staff of veteran reporters who work diligently every week to bring our readers the latest news as it affects their hometown area and people.