King Jesus Ministries will be giving away free gas on Sunday, June 10 immediately following their 10:30 a.m. worship service at the Shell station next to the Herald-Guide office in Boutte.
Pastor Dale Sochia is not releasing the time church service will end and said those who attend the service will be guaranteed a gas card whereas those who line up at the pump at the gas station will only get gas if enough of the $1,000 is left over.
Each vehicle will get $15 worth of gas until a total of at least $1,000 is given away. Along with the gas giveaway the church will be inviting members of the community to a free barbeque and car wash being held at the church at 14201 Highway 90 in Boutte on Sunday.
Sochia said this is not the church’s first free community event.
"We have done a lot of things in the community. We’ve done crawfish boils and stuff and anytime we’ve done any kind of event whether it has been a potluck or food giveaways we never charge. We always give it away for free," Sochia said. "We just wanted to do something for the summer to let people know we are here. We want to help no strings attached.
"If we are just going to meet people’s expectations as a church and give them food that is one thing, but let’s go above and beyond people’s expectations of ourselves and let’s give away free gas, free food, free car washes and really reach out to the people."
This weekend’s gas giveaway will be followed by giveaways in both July and August by which time Sochia anticipates his church will be able to give away at least a few thousand dollars in free gas. Sochia said his church is aiming to provide assistance to the local community.
"Right now what I am seeing is not only are people in need of food. I’m going to the pump and people are going ‘Hey do you have a few dollars for gas?’ and that is very common," Sochia said. "Just for people to get back and forth whether it is to work or to school or just anything, gas has become a straining issue on people in their lives and if we can relieve it for a day and do that and let them know ‘hey we’re here’ that’s what spurred our hearts to do it."
Sochia said no one will be turned away from the pumps regardless of income level.
"On the spiritual side of it a person without Christ is bankrupt," Sochia said. "I don’t care how much you have in the bank you are bankrupt in the spirit. I doesn’t matter what you are driving, what you’re wearing, nobody is getting turned away. We are running the pumps until the cash card runs out."
Sochia recounts his personal experience of being down and out in Los Angeles in the late 1980s as why he wants to help.
"People are struggling. I understand. I lived on the streets of Los Angeles by making bad decisions in my life and I met Christ. I get kind of choked up just talking about it," Sochia said. "God set me free, he gave me a beautiful wife and family, but yeah, I was drug infested, living on the streets, sleeping on park benches and eating out of trash cans. I’ve been there."
In addition to giving away gas Sochia said King Jesus Ministries is involved in local food drives and operates a food bank out of their church.
"I do outreach ministries in New Orleans with Jesus Miracle Power," Sochia said. "We are feeding anywhere from 300 to 500 people every Friday. So I have access to groceries every single week. If people want to come to church on Sunday and they need some groceries all they’ve got to do is ask. We have a food pantry on the spot. We’ve given away groceries."
Sochia’s said his eventual goal, in addition to providing more gas giveways, is to offer a free spaghetti dinner every Sunday night at the church to all comers.
Captain Pat Yoes, Public Information Officer with the St. Charles Sheriff’s Office, said he had not heard about the giveaway, but that would he notify patrolmen about the event.