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Thursday, June 30, 2005

Friday Car Wash to Benefit Homeless

The Rev. Peter Powell hopes those who want their cars clean and sparkling this 4th of July weekend will head to Westport Wash & Wax Friday for the car wash’s fifth annual Good Neighbor event.

All of the day’s gross sales will be donated to Powell’s Interfaith Housing Association (IHA) of Westport-Weston, Inc., a nonprofit social service agency that serves the town’s homeless.

“Last year they did $6,030 on the day of the car wash, and they gave the gross amount to Interfaith Housing,” said Powell, IHA’s president and CEO. “Their cost was not taken out at all. It makes a statement on their commitment to the community.”

Scott and Laila Tiefenthaler, owners of Westport Wash & Wax, quietly and without fanfare five years ago approached Powell with the offer after learning about IHA’s mission and services.

“They were talking to a former board member, and they said they wanted to do something to help out locally,” Powell recalled. “So, we gave them a tour of our services, and Scott was impressed with what we do. We’re not just a cot and a hot.

“There’s a work ethic here that he believed in with our job training and mentoring programs. So, this is the fifth year they’ll be doing it.”

According to Powell, the IHA shelters men, women and families, all of them people who have lost their homes for a variety of reasons including mental illness, substance abuse, job loss or domestic hardship.

The organization also helps people in crisis by providing them with groceries and clothing in order to prevent them from becoming homeless.

“We’re hoping that people want to have a clean car for the 4th of July weekend, and that they will come to Westport Wash & Wax,” Powell said.

“And we (IHA) will have people there all day, too, for those who don’t know about us and would like to learn more.”

One year, Powell noted, a man who came in for a car wash was so moved by IHA’s mission that he chose a weedy patch in front of the town’s soup kitchen, the Gillespie Center, as an Adopt-A-Spot.

The area has since been transformed into a beautiful garden replete with its own sprinkler system.

Heather Cavanagh, IHA’s director of community relations, today asked that the Westport community drive in on Friday to support the event, especially since the IHA’s “food pantry is very low, and the demand keeps increasing.”

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Posted 06/30/05 at 01:03 AM  Permalink