Special to The NEWS
Kerry Manton knows firsthand the hardships single parents can face, and that’s why he does safety-related work on vehicles of qualifying SOS clients, at no charge.
Manton owns and operates Kerry’s Car and Truck Centre in Parksville, and he began fixing vehicles for free shortly after he opened the business in 2010.
Manton and his two siblings were raised by his single mother and he remembers her having to work three jobs just to make ends meet.
“I guess I have a soft spot in my heart for those parents who, even with all the challenges in a single-parent household, are committed to making it work.”
People are very reliant on their cars these days, Manton said, and there are a large number of unsafe vehicles on the road, putting drivers, children and others at risk.
Manton has all the resources and technical ability to repair vehicles well, he said, and he feels good about doing his part. His hope is that the money single parents save on their vehicles may be put to other uses. “In a perfect world l would see my contribution freeing up funds they could use to send a kid to dance class, or hockey, football, gymnastics or whatever — anything to support kids, and at the same time we’re making cars safer for parents and kids to use.”
To access the free service, people contact the SOS’ Emergency Assistance Coordinator, Sarah Faulhafer, and she checks that they meet the stipulations set out by Manton.
Those include being a single parent who is either working or going to school.
Faulhafer said she has heard nothing but good feedback from the clients who, in most cases, would have had to take their vehicles off the road if it weren’t for Manton.
Manton said he’s had some nice cards and feedback from appreciative parents. “I’ve had mothers crying and I’ve had a single father crying — it’s those things that make it all worth while.” Manton said he partnered with the SOS to offer his services because the non-profit organization is already helping people in need in the community, and he felt it was a good fit.
The SOS offers a number of free services to people of all ages in the community. This includes interactive preschool programs, activities for children and youth that inspire self-confidence, help for adults in financial emergencies, medical transport and support for seniors, plus much more. The majority of the funding for these programs comes from the SOS Thrift Shop.
During the Christmas season, SOS creates an entire free Toy Shop with the help of the community, so that low-income parents and guardians may “shop” for their children worry-free. Grocery store gift cards are also distributed at Christmas to residents in-need. Visit www.sosd69.com to donate online or call 250-248-2093 for more information.
The SOS Caring for Kids at Christmas Program needs the community’s assistance in order to continue giving families in this community a happy and memorable Christmas. People can bring in monetary donations or new, unwrapped gifts to the SOS, or visit a local participating business and purchase the gift (or as close to it as possible) listed on one of the SOS’ Angel Trees.
During the 2013 Christmas campaign, SOS received 882 applications for help, encompassing 1,194 adults and 966 children in this community. Registration to the Christmas program is open daily for low-income residents. Apply in person from 9:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m. at the SOS, located at 245 West Hirst Avenue in Parksville. People must remember to bring photo ID (for each adult applying), proof of residency and care cards for children who are living at home full time.