PORTSMOUTH, Va. - Cars that once cost $20 or $30 to fill up now cost $40 or $60, as gas prices increase nationwide and in Hampton Roads. For some, that increase can break the bank.
Saturday morning, a Portsmouth church decided to help by setting up shop at a gas station, offering $20,000 worth of gas to a long line of grateful drivers.
One driver we spoke to, Suffolk resident Willie Warren, said he got in line around 5:30 a.m. Saturday and waited four hours for 10 free gallons of gas. Despite the long wait, he said it was worth it.
"I was in a financial state where I couldn’t really afford to get the gas like I needed, so this is a blessing for me, and I thank God for these people," Warren said.
Members of Grove Church's congregation spread the good news through free gas, with the line from the Exxon where they set up heading down the street and around the block.
This is the second year Grove Church has given away free gas. According to organizers, this year the church was able to give twice as much gas away — and the need was much bigger.
"When folks have to go to the gas pump and their reality is, 'I have to choose between gas and medicine, gas and rent, gas and food for my kids,' well, somebody has got to answer the call," Margaret DePeña, a volunteer with Grove Church, told News 3.
"How does it feel to be that person?" News 3's Anthony Sabella asked DePeña.
"I was excited," she answered. "I didn't sleep at all."
Rest assured — with a full tank, folks like Warren can sleep soundly.
"This will last me the rest of the week," Warren said.
When asked if they'll do this giveaway again, Grove Church members said it all depends on the need.