Among the free food, games and other prizes offered at an event hosted by the Family Life Christian Center in Clinton, Iowa, on Saturday, the chance to win a $100 gas card is the biggest incentive promoted by the senior pastor Kenny Hilliard Jr. to convince his community to run.
“I want you to know that we will be giving away $100 gas gift cards to those who come to the services. Part of it will feature a drawing and you can earn $100 on Family Life Christian Church,” Hilliard said in a video posted to her church’s Facebook page Tuesday night.
“Why are we doing this?” He asked.
“Because the gas is high!” he answered her question, in a matter-of-fact tone, acknowledging that he knew the national average gasoline price hit a record high of $5 a gallon in June.
“That’s exactly why we do it. …Since the gas is high, we want to let you know that you can have $100 on Family Life…because it’s all about family,” he said.
Some economists have warned that gasoline prices will rise this summer with increased demand from travelers amid rising inflation. Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that the annual inflation rate in May was 8.6%, which is the highest since 1981. This means that the purchasing power of each dollar earned by American workers has been eroded by almost 9%. .
President Joe Biden has asked Congress to suspend gasoline and diesel taxes for three months until September, Yahoo! Finances paid off, but some financial experts say it won’t do much to help.
“The average adult in the United States uses about a gallon of gas a day,” Jay Zagorsky, associate professor of markets, public policy and law at Boston University, told Yahoo! Finance. “If President Biden is able to push through a gas tax exemption, the typical adult will save just under $6 a month. At a time when inflation is above 8%, an extra $6 won’t make much difference.
Patrick De Haan, head of oil analysis at GasBuddy agrees and suggested government stimulus checks of $50 or $100 sent to Americans could help more.
“If they need it for gas, they will be wise and save it,” De Haan told the press service. “And it may not have such a profound impact on gasoline demand while providing some kind of relief.”
As government officials grapple with how best to deal with high gas prices and the general economic strain being felt by American households, churches across the country are trending on social media, as well as many other organizations, to give away gasoline. Earlier this month, the Progressive Union Missionary Baptist Church in Huntsville, Alabama, called their $5,000 gift of gasoline, “Gas on God.”
In an interview with The Christian Post, Hilliard, whose church opened about six months ago, said the idea of handing out gas cards came about during a planning meeting with his team. at the Family Life Christian Center. Some who traveled long distances to get to church, he said, had worried about gas prices.
“There was a bit of concern with people coming to our church that gas prices were going up,” Hilliard said. “What we wanted to do is give back not only to those in our church, but we also wanted to give back to those in our community because that is ultimately what we are here for. We are here to help the community in any way we can. »
Pastor Chris Simmons, who leads Cornerstone Baptist Church that serves a low-income community in Dallas, Texas, told the Baptist Press last month that high gas prices had forced some of his members to quit. to in-person worship services for online engagement so they can keep gas in their tanks.
“Donations are down as people now have to decide whether to donate or get gas to get to church,” Simmons told the news service. “It doesn’t just impact donations. It also impacts footfall as people don’t have the money for gas and they try to ration gas. Some people went back online, for no other reason than the gas. »
Come Saturday morning, Salem Baptist Church in Omaha, Nebraska, will also be sponsoring a gas card giveaway in the church parking lot beginning at 9 a.m. while supplies last. And according to his senior pastor, Reverend Selwyn Q. Bachus, he is simply trying to ease the pressure on his community as well.
“Salem recognizes that rising inflation has impacted gas prices, creating a daily strain on the resources of many families in our community. We want to express God’s love and support during this difficult time by offering a gas card gift to provide some relief,” Bachus said in a statement Tuesday. “We look forward to helping our community fill their gas tanks.”
Earlier this month, Life Changers Christian Church in West Allis, Wisconsin, decided to donate $900 worth of gasoline by parsing $15 of the precious commodity to each motorist. In less than an hour, they had exhausted their budget.
“That’s the need right now. People have to go to work, they have to bring their kids,” the church leader, identified as Pastor Jay, told WISN. “[For] some people, that $15 goes a long way.”