VIDEO: California auto shop offers free car repairs to single mothers

Image courtesy of KRON

SANTA ROSA (KRON) — Her car is really her lifeline.

For single mothers struggling to make ends meet, a car breakdown can push them to the breaking point.

On Thursday night, KRON4 profiled a Santa Rosa auto shop that’s helping out by offering free car repairs to help those families stay on track.

Another single mom will soon be on the road after a visit to SAL Auto.

The non-profit uses money from its full paying clients getting tune-ups and oil changes to help change the luck of single moms in need of a break.

The non-profit’s founder gives the example of a recent client they were able to get back on track.

“When a car broke down, she was getting up at 5:30 a.m. to get on a bus to go to the main station to get it, then get on another bus to take her kid to daycare and get on another bus to go to school,” SAL Auto founder Matthew Nalywaiko said. “And then at the end of the day, do the whole commute in reverse, and that was a whole week she spent most of her free time on the bus.”

The clients are referred and screened by CalWORKs and the YWCA–women who are in school or in job training to try and better their situation.

Mechanic Bill Patterson learned to fix cars in order to help get his own mom, who raised him on her own, back on the road. He knows firsthand how an expensive car breakdown can be out of reach for these women.

Their reaction on getting the bill for $0 is always a relief.

“At first, it’s just the look of disbelief,” Patterson said. “Their mouth just drops, and most the time, they just break down, sob a lot of times. They give me a hug, so that makes it worth all worthwhile.”

More information at SALAUTO.ORG.