SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) –Shift Garage is a place where those who can’t afford car repairs can get help.
It started 12 years ago in Rapid City before adding a location in Sioux Falls. Customers pay for the parts, but labor is free. It was created by a former church minister who now serves in another way.
Fixing the brakes on this old Ford, just another evening for these volunteers at Shift garage in Sioux Falls. Every week these amateur mechanics give their time and expertise.
“So the main thing Shift does is we fix cars for people who can’t afford to have them fixed at a traditional garage. Repairs are expensive and we have volunteer labor, we get a good price on parts so we can do a bunch there. That is kind of half of what we do.
And then half is the dealership side of Shift where we take donated cars fix them up and get them to people who need a car just from scratch,” said Joe Smith. Joe Smith is the motor that drives Shift Garage on both sides of the state.
“Everybody in my family is a pastor and I actually took a church out of college and solo pastored it for a few years, but I’ve always been a car guy,” said Smith.
The two passions, of wanting to minister to people and working on cars kind of came together, and this idea was born. As Joe said not only are they resurrecting cars that can be saved from the junkyard. They are fixing up and providing donated vehicles to people. In the last two years Josh and Vanessa Hoff grew their family by four.
“They’re our only nieces and nephews and they’re our family and you know the options if they don’t come with us they go to a foster home,” said Vanessa.
“We felt called to take on the responsibility to give them a stable environment,” said Josh. Josh and Vanessa are the proud owners of this Nissan van, and they are thankful the days of cramming six people into a truck are over.
“The more room the better, so kids are getting along better when they are not scrunched together so much so,” said Josh. The Hoffs came to Shift Garage through an Angel at their church. Angel Metzger the Compassion Director at Ransom Church.
“It’s a big deal to bring four kids into your home,” said Metzger.
Ransom is one of several churches that help fund the Shift Garage According to Metzger, in their ministry they have found transportation to be among the highest needs in Sioux Falls. “Lets say their brakes go out, if they are not able to purchase those brakes, now how does that change their job, how does that affect them getting their kids to school how does that affect them getting to medical appointments,” said Metzger. The mechanics don’t tackle major projects like engine or transmission repairs.
“We only repair that affect safety, legality, and reliability. So if your radio doesn’t work or your 4-wheel drive doesn’t work, we are not interested in that. We are just trying to get it so you can get to work safely and take your kids to school safely because we are not here to compete with regular shops here in town, I’m not here to compete with good quality automotive shops. We are just trying to get people up to the next level and get them through a tough time,” said Smith.
“I think the community needs to know that if they are looking to make an impact they can make a financial donation. They can come and serve here. We need car donations, so bring your car and donate it to Joe; he’s going to turn around and help another family like Josh and Vanessa; for those families who need assistance, go to the website and apply for a repair if you need it,” said Metzger.
Shift Garage also has a new program called “Up Shift.” Joe works with Black Hills Federal Credit Union to secure lower interest loans for people looking to get a nicer car and build their credit.