Recently our fundraiser for HQ caught the attention of WZZM’s Angela Cunningham. Angela came into the shop early one morning to get the word out about our fundraiser AND to give us a giant surprise!
Click here to watch the live tv interview
Here is the text story from WZZM:
WYOMING, MICH. – Owners of a West Michigan business have spent much of this holiday season trying to add a little joy to those who are less fortunate.
Jamie Carlson, co-owner of Ervine’s Auto Repair and Grand Rapids Hybrid, along with her daughter Megan Dineff, have spent months collecting donations for homeless, runaway and displaced youth in West Michigan.
“It just breaks my heart that there are youth that don’t have a place they are safe,” said Carlson. “There is a need for someplace like HQ. And, I am so grateful for a place like HQ.”
HQ is a “drop-in” shelter that serves 14 to 24-year-olds facing housing instability. Development Director, Luke Petsch, says their clients are young people who find themselves in variety of crisis situations.
“It could mean they are runaways. It could mean they’ve been kicked out. It could mean that because of the economics of the family, there is just no longer a place for that youth to stay,” he describes. “What happens then, is they find themselves at this crisis point wondering what do they do. Where do they go? HQ strives to be that place.”
HQ, located in southeast Grand Rapids, provides a variety of services, including a safe place to rest and access resources and basic needs.
“So it is everything from providing a place to shower and do your laundry to a place to come play music, read a book and connect with adults,” says Petsch. “We believe it should be easy to access resources you need, whether it is something like mental health support or employment services. And, when you have adults who care about you and invest in that relationship, it makes it easy to say ‘this is what I want from life. This is what I need to get there.'”
“We want these youth to know is that the community cares about them. They want to know there are people out here that care what happens to them,” says Carlson. “I hope they feel that through this small gift.”
Carlson and Dineff plan to donate 75 gift bags to HQ clients. Through fundraising efforts, Carlson and Dineff have collected items they believe will be much appreciated by the youth.
“We are putting together items that are just above the basic needs. So, socks, water bottles, ear buds, USB plugs, notebooks to write down their thoughts and gift cards, said Dineff. “Stuff that can go in a backpack that the youth can take with them and feel that they are loved.”
On Monday morning Carlson and Dineff were feeling the love, themselves, when a surprise visitor stopped by their shop. Tony Castillo, owner and operator of several West Michigan McDonalds, showed up and presented them with 40 $10 gift cards.
Castillo said when he learned of their effort, he knew he had to be involved with this type of community outreach.
“When I got the call, I said I’m there,” said Castillo. “It should be easy to give, for those of us who have more. For me to be a part of this is huge. I am extremely gratified.”
Dineff says Castillo’s gift allowed them to complete the last of their stockings. They plan on presenting them to HQ this Friday.
“I am so thankful there are other people want to help those who are less fortunate and those who are struggling, she said. “That really hits a big spot in my heart. I am so thankful to know there are like-minded people around who are willing to go above and beyond.”
Since HQ opened its doors, 3 years ago, it has seen roughly new 20 to 30 youth drop in daily. HQ serves, on average, 300 youth each week. Petsch says the number has grown each year.
Chelsea Vives: Awesome service!! They were extremely helpful and friendly! I loved how they were accommodating to the customers and being very organized with after hours drop-offs and pick-ups. They were also very quick with fixing my car which was great.
Andy Krafft: Ervine's has provided great service for me throughout my college years! They do their best to make time for customers and understand the importance and value in quality service. Would definitely recommend!
Erin O'Brien-Jenison: The staff is very friendly. The technicians take the time to explain repairs in detail. The loaner car service is very convenient for my family. Each of my experiences with Ervine's has been very positive.
Jamie Riehle: My car needed a lot of work and being relatively new to the area, I had to rely on online reviews. Ervine's got great feedback, so I made an appointment through their website. I was contacted almost immediately and scheduled very quickly. The repairs took a few days, but with the free loaner it was no big deal. They explained everything to me, helped me prioritize which repairs to do first, and Jamie even entertained my 5-year-old while I spent 10 minutes on the phone with my bank to get my payment to go through. I may have been able to find someplace a little cheaper, but you can't pay for the excellent customer service at Ervine's. The lobby is clean, has fresh coffee, and is very professional. As a woman I've been intimidated going into car shops but I never felt that way at Ervine's. I'll definitely be returning.
Kaitlin McDowell: I had a great experience at Ervine's. I know very little about my car beyond turning it on, so I was relieved when the staff were willing to spend extra time explaining to me exactly what is going on and helping me to be an informed consumer. I also appreciated that they are not trying to sell something-- I did not actually need the repair that the dealership had told me to IMMEDIATELY deal with, and the folks at Ervine's were willing to tell me that when they could have made a buck doing the repair. The visit was so painless I even got to run errands while I was waiting using one of their fabulous loaner cars. Thank you so much!