Detroit church's gas giveaway shut down by police after 30 minutes due to massive turnout

BP Station
Drivers fill up their cars with gas at a BP station. |

A church’s free gas giveaway in Detroit was shut down by police over the weekend because so many cars got in line for the promotion that traffic was backed up nearly to the highway.

Fox 2 Detroit reports that the owners of a BP station on Outer Drive near I-94 teamed up with Second Canaan Missionary Baptist Church to bless local families with free gas last Sunday, the day the church celebrated its 63rd anniversary. 

The promotion was advertised as $15 in free gas to the first 150 cars that arrived. But according to Pastor Frank Harris, they were able to give away much more than that. The church’s Facebook page tallies the number of people that received free gas at 250. 

“Our entire intent was to be a blessing to our community,” Harris told Fox 2 Detroit. “Our intent was to make an impact. We made an impact.”

BP employee William Bazzi told the television news outlet that people began lining up around 10:30 a.m. for a giveaway that began at 1:30 p.m. 

“[B]y the time we got here we could barely make it off the highway," Bazzi explained, adding that he got there around 11 a.m.

According to Fox 2, the promotion was shut down within a half-hour after it began as police tried to restore the flow of traffic back to normal.  

Despite the fact that the promotion was shut down so quickly, that did not stop the BP owners and the church from giving away more gas than they expected. 

But Harris indicated that in the future, should they choose to do another promotion, they will coordinate better with the police. 

Harris told radio station WWJ that the church was trying to respond to the notion held by many that “the church is always trying to get from them.”

“[O]ur assignment is to show them that the church is always giving," Harris explained. 

“All the people who go to our church, people in our neighborhood, they come here [to this gas station],” Harris added.

Second Canaan Missionary Baptist Church is far from the first church to run a gas giveaway. 

For the past two years, the Greater St. Stephen Full Gospel Baptist in New Orleans, Louisiana, has done gas giveaways. On April 19, the church held its last giveaway, which lasted for two hours at two gas stations.

Executive Pastor Donna Williams told The Christian Post before the April giveaway that the church planned to provide gas to 250 people. 

“We do this as a way of giving back to the community,” she said.  

In 2016, an Assemblies of God megachurch in Ohio made headlines when it gave out 10 gallons of gas to the first 100 cars that stopped by a local BP station.

The church spent a total of $3,200 on the gas.

"I actually heard about a couple of people who cried. They were just so blown away of this act of kindness," pastor Lock P. Beachum Jr. told CP at the time. "Our church is in a distressed area, so [for] a number of folks just being in the situation of life that they are in, that [meant a lot]. It equated to 30 dollars."

Follow Samuel Smith on Twitter: @IamSamSmith

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