Welcome back to the second chapter of our 3-part series recounting the incredible journey of Hands of The Carpenter. As I delve deeper into the memories, photographs, and videos from the past 20 years, I’m still in awe of the impact we’ve made through our service.
In March, I shared how Hands underwent a strategic shift in 2009, raising capital to establish our own automotive shop. Our “Driving Towards The Dream” campaign marked the beginning of a new chapter. With the support of partners who believed in our vision, Hands acquired an existing automotive shop in 2010 and rebranded it as “Hands Automotive Inc.” This was uncharted territory for us, and we relied on a separate board to get things started, as none of us had experience running an automotive facility.
I’ll never forget the excitement of hosting our first Car Care Clinic at the new location. The simple act of pressing a button to lift a car felt like a luxury after seven years of manually jacking up cars in church parking lots—rain or shine. It was during this time that we formed “Pit Crews” and started washing cars and hosting breakfasts at each clinic.
Ray Betts, our first Service Manager, was an extraordinary man. His unwavering dedication to service and his extensive automotive expertise were invaluable to Hands. I firmly believe that we wouldn’t be celebrating our 20th anniversary without God’s blessings and Ray’s leadership back in 2010. He played a crucial role in guiding both me and Hands as we embraced a social enterprise business model. Hands Automotive served the public, utilizing the proceeds to assist the women who sought help and hope.
Collaborations with organizations like Phil Long Ford, Napa, and numerous Napa automotive shops enabled Hands to expand our reach and maximize our impact. In 2015, we hosted our first “Mother’s Day Give-Away,” presenting five deserving women with vehicles to support their families and personal journeys. The following year, we doubled that number!
I don’t want to get too far ahead in the story, as the period between 2016 and 2023 saw more significant progress towards our long-term goals than the first 13 years combined. Those early years, however, laid the solid foundation upon which we continue to build. I’m eager to share more of our story with you soon, so stay tuned for the final chapter!
Steering Change As I finish this three-part series on the history of Hands and we continue to celebrate all the women served for the past 20 years, I want to