A local non-profit helps single mothers by fixing cars

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HUTTO, Texas (KXAN) — That’s the last thing Tamra Mangum was thinking about — car repairs.

Tamra Mangum has been a single mother for five years. (Courtesy of Casey Chapman-Ross Photography)

After her husband’s unexpected death, she said it was difficult to juggle family, home life and work.

“Generally, there is a lot of support at the start. And you have a lot of people surrounding you and seeing how they can help you,” Mangum said. “But when you move down the road and everyone goes back to their normal lives…you still end up with what you know, raising your kids and taking care of a house and taking care of a car.”

His family had always taken their commuter to Christian Brothers Automotive in Hutto.

Mangum explained that when the store found out her husband had passed away, they wanted to make sure she never had car trouble.

“Gave me a list of all sorts of things they took care of that they felt were necessary with my car and said everything was taken care of,” she said, “There’s no had no cost to me, what I felt like there weren’t even words to describe what it meant to me.

Association created to help single mothers

The auto repair shop offers free oil changes to single mothers once a year, but the team wanted to do more.

The Hub Garage partners with auto repair shops across the country to help single moms. (Courtesy of Casey Chapman-Ross Photography)

“A vehicle is not only based on transport. For them it’s – I have to go to the grocery store, I have to get the kids to school, how am I going to get the job. So it’s a lifeline for them,” said James Guzman, owner and president of Christian Brothers Automotive Hutto.

In 2020, Guzman partnered with an Austin-based nonprofit The hub garage which offers single mothers free car repair services.

“What they’re asking us to do is say, ‘hey, look at the whole car.’ We don’t just want to service the brakes, you know, all the hoses are fine, you know? All the brake lines, okay? Does the air conditioning work, because obviously, you know, six months a year? year, it’s warm here. Is the heater working – getting ready for winter? How’s the radiator going,” Guzman said. “We monitor the entire vehicle. And we provide an assessment at The Hub Garage, and they tell us, okay, go ahead and do it all.

In the two years since its launch, The Hub Garage said it repaired more than 800 vehicles nationwide, 80% of them in Texas. The non-profit organization explained that it was more than $2.5 million in savings for single mothers.

The Hub Garage has partnered with over a hundred auto repair shops across the country to help single moms keep their cars on the road. To qualify, the auto repair shop submits information about the single mother that is verified.

“Cup Car” awareness raising

“Being a single mom is one of the toughest jobs in the world, so we made it our business to help her keep moving,” The Hub Garage said on its website.

Jonathan Carr, founder and CEO of the organization, said he had been in the automotive industry for 15 years and had seen people take advantage, especially single mothers and widows.

He said the idea started with the Christian Brothers franchise opening in Cedar Park on Saturdays and offering free oil changes to moms. Carr said he knew more could be done to help families.

The “cup car” was unveiled in November alongside South Congress. (Courtesy of Hub Garage)

In an effort to raise awareness, earlier this month The Hub Garage unveiled a life-size “mug car” made of coffee mugs parked alongside South Congress. The “cup car” will be at Caffe Medici on Springdale Rd. for National Giving Day on Tuesday, November 29.

The “cup car” was created to bring awareness to the millions of single mothers nationwide who need reliable transportation to support themselves and their families. Although not a roadworthy car, the mug car will encourage people to donate what they usually spend on a cup of coffee to The Hub Garage. In doing so, they will help single mothers keep the driver’s seat of their lives,” the nonprofit organization said in a press release.

Mangum said she was grateful for the help.

“My wish is that this brings awareness to a place where people can consider contributions. Whether it is monetary contributions, sharing with a neighbor or simple prayers, I believe that more single mothers will be blessed in the same way as me,” she said. “Single parenthood isn’t easy, especially when it’s not something you imagined going through. The blessings of contributions to partnerships like Hub Garage and Christian Brothers make a huge difference in the life of a single parent household.

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