Church provides free gas to Grand Crossing community as prices soar

CHICAGO (SCS) — Gas prices continue to soar, but Saturday brought temporary relief to some Chicago drivers as a local church provided free gas to 200 cars in the Grand Crossing community. And there are more gifts to come.

After a successful giveaway on Thursday, millionaire businessman Willie Wilson plans to donate $1 million worth of free gas next week across the subway. But on Saturday, New Life Covenant Church wanted to help the Grand Crossing neighborhood.

“I didn’t think I was going to make it, and I needed it,” said one pilot.

“Gasoline prices are skyrocketing, and we need it, especially in our community,” said another.

Everyone CBS 2’s Shardaa Gray spoke to said their pockets ached.

“That’s where it really, really hurts, and that’s the gasoline,” Anthony Miles said, as he was given free gasoline. “For you to get up and go to work to make money. And the pinch has been so huge.”

From Uber drivers to mobile blood draw drivers, New Life’s outreach and community development team donated $6,000 worth of gas to 200 drivers.

“Without that blessing today, I don’t think I would have been able to go out today to drive, but now I have enough gas to go out and earn some extra cash. I’m really doing well,” said Uber driver Glenn. Johnson.

Lura Irvine is a mobile phlebotomist.

“I drive for a living, so I go to people’s houses every day,” she said. “Gas being as it is, it’s difficult for me to try to make sure I have gas.”

Donations came from church members.

“They were able to give us the money within a day. I told them, ‘This is the need. This is what we need.’ And they made it happen, so we’re grateful to the members who make things like this happen.

Hannah said they had planned for this November 2021, long before prices spiked.

“We didn’t know the economy would be there, but we’re so grateful we came at the right time. It’s the perfect time,” he said.

“I’m so excited, it’s a blessing. The gas is so high and I’m so grateful,” said another pilot.

For next Thursday’s giveaway, drivers in line at 7 a.m. at 50 participating locations will receive $50 worth of gas until $1 million runs out.

The gift won’t be the first for Wilson, who has run for several political offices, including mayor of Chicago. During his 2018 campaign, he caused some controversy by handing out cash.

Christy J. Olson