Keep Hope Rolling

In Plainsboro, New Jersey, Princeton Alliance Church congregants are repairing used vehicles and donating them to single mothers in need of transportation. 

The Cars Ministry at Princeton Alliance began 26 years ago after church members heard about financially strapped single parents who were without transportation, says Toni Campbell, the church’s benevolence director. 

“Several gentlemen who were backyard mechanics said, ‘We have a skill. They have a need. Let’s just do something about that,’” she says. 

So the church started collecting donated vehicles, and volunteer mechanics fixed them up, working out of a nearby barn. But when the church moved to its current location, the church built a three-bay garage on the property. 

The process begins with car donors completing forms detailing their vehicle’s history before signing over the title. Then the mechanics conduct a 100-point inspection to determine whether they can fix the car. Those cars beyond repair may be junked and the money used to buy parts for other vehicles. 

People applying to receive a vehicle must live within a five-mile radius of the church and have no other viable means of transportation. Additionally, applicants must prove that they lack the money for car payments, but can afford a vehicle’s insurance, title, registration and basic upkeep.

Meanwhile, the volunteer mechanics gather at the church several nights a week to repair donated vehicles. In 2022, the church took in 19 vehicles and gave away six. 

Campbell recalls one mother of five who came to the church in 2021. 

“She had been diagnosed with breast cancer and recently had lost her job,” Campbell says. The church gave her a Honda Pilot big enough for her whole family. “It turned everything around and gave her so much hope during a very difficult time. 

“Our tagline is: ‘Keep hope rolling,’ a reminder of how we can bring hope to others.”

Gail Allyn Short
Gail Allyn Short

Gail Allyn Short is freelance writer in Birmingham, Alabama. She leads a nursing home ministry and teaches a Bible study class for new believers at Integrity Bible Church.