Waynesboro church's gift gas fuels fellowship

April 21, 2011|By JENNIFER FITCH |
  • Eric Beck of Experience Life Church in Waynesboro, Pa., pumps $10 worth of free gas into Mackenzie Smith's car Thursday at the Sheetz on Pa. 16 in Rouzerville, Pa.
By Chris Tilley/Staff Photographer

ROUZERVILLE, Pa. — The looks of disbelief and comments like “Really?” were to be expected.

The sign at Sheetz on Pa. 16 indicated regular-grade gasoline was $3.85 a gallon, but the people in red shirts with homemade signs were offering up the fuel free of charge Thursday afternoon.

“What’s the catch?” a woman in a sport-utility vehicle asked.

“No catch,” Eric Beck said, removing her vehicle’s fuel cap. “We just love you.”

Experience Life Church of Waynesboro, Pa., started its outreach effort shortly after 4:30 p.m. People from the church offered $10 worth of gas to the first 200 customers who stopped by pumps Nos. 1 through 4 at Sheetz.

Pastor Jeff Miller told the volunteers to be cheery and simply tell motorists they wanted to help if asked what was happening.

“Part of our heart and passion is to serve our community, be a light,” Miller said.

The church purchased 20, $100 gift cards to swipe at the pumps.

“We’ll pump it for them and get them on their way,” Miller said.

It was hard at times to tell who was enjoying the experience more. Drivers and church members laughed and exchanged pleasantries while the fuel flowed.

Wendy Overholtzer of Blue Ridge Summit, Pa., said she saw people holding signs about free gas.

“It’s hard to believe. It was like, ‘Is this a joke?’” Overholtzer said.

Donna Morris, also of Blue Ridge Summit, offered similar sentiments.

“I just saw the sign, and I still don’t believe it. I’m shocked,” she said.

One of the first people to receive free gas was Sabillasville, Md., resident Guy Monn, who stopped with his pickup truck.

“I saw a sign that said, ‘Free gas.’ I thought, ‘Whadda you do?’” he said.

Bruce Hollinger of Carroll Valley, Pa., said he thought the offering was a great idea.

“I just drove by and got lucky,” he said.

Any bit of assistance helps when gas prices are high, according to Krissy Vulgamott of Waynesboro.

“It’s like ‘Wow,’” she said.

Miller said he knows churches in the South that have given away gas.

Next, Experience Life Church, which meets at 10 a.m. Sundays in the Waynesboro Area YMCA, will hand out Walmart gift cards to customers at that store.

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