Ottawa

Gas giveaway planned by Ottawa church

An Ottawa evangelical church will be manning the pumps at a local Pioneer gas station next weekend, with plans to give away $10,000 worth of free fuel.

$10,000 worth of fuel offered as good-will gesture, church says

Volunteers with the Dominion Outreach Centre will offer to fill vehicle gas tanks for free on June 11 at this Pioneer gas station in Gloucester. (CBC)

An Ottawa evangelical church will be manning the pumps at a local Pioneer gas station next weekend, with plans to give away $10,000 worth of free fuel.

The Dominion Outreach Centre in Gloucester says it wants to offer people in the community up to $50 worth of gasoline for their vehicle without charge, and says it hopes the act will encourage other churches and organizations to do the same.

"We can afford to give away $10,000 worth of gas. That's $50 a vehicle," pastor Joe Mebrahtu told CBC News Friday.

"I'm hoping it's going to be a party. We just want to create a festive environment."

No religious message

Volunteers will begin filling up the first of at least 200 tanks starting at 10 a.m. on June 11, as well as offering coffee and a windshield wipe. A barbecue is also planned.

There is no ulterior motive involved, Mebrahtu stressed. "There won't be a religious message," he said, adding the gesture is more about community outreach and helping residents to meet their tangible needs.

Pastor Joe Mebrahtu says the free gas is being offered to believers and non-believers alike, and is meant to be a community outreach gesture.

If visitors do want prayer, they're more than welcome, he said.

Asked whether the "Great Gas Giveaway" at the Pioneer station on the corner of Ogilvie and Blair Place was a promotional or marketing move, Mebrahtu said the day wasn't about making a pitch for new members.

Message of generosity

"The last thing we want to do is come out as kind of corporation. We don't promote the gospel, the gospel is there for somebody who wants to receive it," he said.

Mebrahtu said he hoped that other organizations and groups in the city would take note of the feel-good gesture and follow suit.

"Whatever the need is, the city is very generous and we just want to remind people of that," he said.

The $10,000 was raised through donations to a special "gas giveaway" fund and collected from the Dominion Outreach Centre's congregation.