Who knew that run-down rides and ribs go together like peanut butter and jelly!
Well Eliot D. Middleton, 38, a restaurant owner from South Carolina, must have had an inkling of some sort because he will give you some ribs if you give him your raggedy car so he can fix it and transform it into a treasure to give to people in need of transportation in the rural area, according to CNN.
The community helper is honoring his father’s legacy by turning inoperable cars into working vehicles. So far he has “collected 100 cars and surprised 33 community members with a repaired ride — without asking for a single thing in return,” according to the outlet.
The owner of Middleton’s Village BBQ restaurant encourages others to part with their broken vehicle by exchanging it for ribs he cooks at his establishment. Middleton’s good deed project evolved into Middleton’s Village To Village Foundation, which is a nonprofit, CNN reported.
The origin of the idea to help others who needed transportation dates back to a time after high school graduation, when he began a business with his later father, Kevin Wayne Middleton Sr., per The Washington Post. After doing so, “Middleton trained to become an auto mechanic, and in 2004, he and his father opened their own auto service together. It was then, he said, that he first realized the dire need for transportation support in rural communities.”
“We had a lot of single moms as customers, and we always ran into problems with them not having enough funds,” Middleton told The Washington Post. “We spoke about trying to find a way to help them, but we never had the chance to sit down and figure something out.”
According to the news story, the auto shop closed its doors, after his father’s health declined. Middleton decided to officially turn his love of barbecuing into an entrepreneurial endeavor. In 2020, his father passed away, but Middleton did not forget about the people who found themselves unable to afford cars in local, rural places.
After Eliot repaired the first donated car — “a 1997 navy Toyota Camry,” then gave it to a “single mother of two children” who was unemployed, Middleton was able to see the impact of his idea, per The Washington Post. The woman secured a job within two months and recently purchased a new car. She was able to return the donated car to Middleton, according to the story.
Middleton is still on the move to help more carless people in need. His idea led to his creation of a GoFundMe campaign. Approximately $111,602 has been raised of the $150,000 goal. Click here to find the fundraiser.
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