Car repair non-profit expands to eastern South Dakota

Local News

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — A KELOLAND non-profit is helping even more people after expanding to southeastern South Dakota.

Joe Smith is passionate about cars, but years ago he took a different road in life.

“I ended up going to school to be a pastor and so I went through the whole track and became an ordained minister. The whole time I really wanted to go to school to be a mechanic,” SHIFT Garage Founder/Director Joe Smith said.

That didn’t happen, but he is still helping people keep their wheels on the road.

Smith started the SHIFT Garage seven years ago in Rapid City, a non-profit serving people in need, including low income families.

“We have volunteers as mechanics, and so we’re able to offer car repair for just the cost of the parts with no markup and no labor costs,” Smith said.

Smith is now setting up shop at a second location on the other side of the state.

“There’s a lot of people in the middle of South Dakota on the east side that need to get to Mayo for different appointments and operations and maybe they’ve got a vehicle that’s okay to get to work and back home, but they’re not comfortable taking a trip with it,” Smith said.

For now, the non-profit is renting a garage in Tea, but the hope is to eventually move to Sioux Falls.

“We have so many programs, great programs, that deal with clothing, food housing. We deal with everything, except transportation,” Smith said.

He thinks his program can help people navigate other resources in their communities.

“I think that hope and freedom are the two things that I think a car really gives you, something reliable that you can depend on,” Smith said.

That’s why he’s turned his passion into a ministry to keep people moving forward.

Smith says there is an application process to get your car fixed, and the nonprofit is not trying to compete with traditional repair shops.

If you’re interested in volunteering or donating, click here.

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