Huge lineup at church gas giveaway

SEE VIDEO http://www.ottawasun.com/2011/06/11/huge-lineup-at-church-gas-giveaway

Free gas had hundreds pumped up as they waited in line at a Pioneer station in Gloucester Saturday.

“My blood is flowing, I’m having an adrenaline rush right now,” said Thaiba Saadaq, 25, as she got close to the front of the line after driving in from the west end.

Claudius Smith didn’t have to drive very far.

“I worked overnight, 11 to 7, then I just came here,” said Smith.

Between 200 and 300 drivers scored more than $11,000 in free fuel, paid for by a local church, on a day when the average price of gas was near $1.26 per litre — up from 94 cents a year ago.

Police were directing traffic.

Each car was allowed a maximum of $50 as 70 church volunteers manned the pumps and washed windows.

“In light of today’s struggles, financial struggles and things, the high gas prices, we thought it would be a great idea to bless the people with some free gas,” said Darlene Clark from the Dominion Outreach Centre congregation.

The money came from offerings.

The giveaway wasn’t supposed to start until 10 a.m.

But they began 17 minutes early because of all the waiting cars.

Within 10 minutes, $1,000 had already been spent.

And 40 minutes after that, they were almost at $4,900.

Two women apparently arrived around 4:15 a.m. and were second in line to get free gas.

When Jerry O’Hare arrived around 7:30 a.m., “there was about 30 or 40 people ahead of me,” he said, adding the gas should last him all week.

“I’m not working, so I just use it (car) to do my groceries and go to church,” said O’Hare.

Joe Raymond is using the free fuel for a lot more than that.

He’s a roofer and puts a lot of mileage on his GMC Sierra.

“I go from Ottawa, to Carp, to Stittsville, to Arnprior, to Renfrew, and then back to Ottawa again,” he said, adding he spends $110 to fill up every two or three days.

As they neared the limit, Pastor Bill Prankard whipped out his credit card and said everyone left in line would get $10 so they’d go home happy.

“It’s time that we all got together and helped the community in a tangible way,” said Prankard. “You know, this won’t solve people’s problems but it will help them this week.”

“I appreciate it so much,” said Smith.

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