This article originally appeared in Voyage Dallas.
Today we’d like to introduce you to Manuel Tellez.
Alright, so thank you so much for sharing your story and insight with our readers. To kick things off, can you tell us a bit about how you got started?
After completing a summer internship in my hometown of Borger, TX, and graduating with a Bachelor’s Degree in Economics from Texas Tech University, I came to Dallas to pursue educational and career opportunities. When I first arrived, I worked at a local Chamber of Commerce and slowly moved up at a variety of companies that included pay increases, although not substantial. It was during these early times here in Dallas that my truck, a 2002 Dodge Ram 1500, started experiencing major issues especially with the coolant system.
Since I was barely making ends meet and did not have anyone I could ask to borrow money from, I turned to payday lenders to finance these much needed repairs. The result in relying on payday lenders was paying thousands of dollars in interest to have my vehicle repaired. During this time, I realized that my plight was very common.
In addition, I came across a couple of interesting findings:
- The Federal Reserve study found that 44% of Americans do not have $400 in savings to cover an unexpected emergency and 60% of Americans don’t have $1,000 to cover a similar situation.
- The average cost of an automotive repair in Texas is $386.
These stats showed me that a lot of people are “one blown tire away from disaster”. As a result, I decided to start Autocare Haven, which is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit whose goal is to ease the financial burden of North Texans by providing vehicle repairs so they can get back on the road and on with their lives.
Alright, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
The main obstacle to our work is raising enough funds to help as many people as possible. To put this into perspective, we used to receive one application requesting assistance per week before the Covid-19 pandemic but has since increased to one application every 2 – 3 days. Fortunately, we have a low-cost model to conduct repairs, but we struggle to assist everyone who needs help.
Alright so before we go can you talk to us a bit about how people can work with you, collaborate with you or support you?
Those wishing to support our mission can do so in a couple of ways. First, we are always looking for donations so any financial assistance would be greatly appreciated. Because of our ability to purchase parts at drastically reduced prices and recruit mechanics who offer very competitive rates, we can complete low cost but high-quality repairs. As a result, donations of $10, $15, $25 or more can go a long way. Anyone interested in donating can do so through a few different channels:
- PayPal: paypal.me/AutocareHaven,
- Facebook: facebook.com/AutocareHaven,
- Cash App: $AutocareHaven,
- Venmo: @autocarehaven
- Zelle: email@example.com.
Second, we are always looking for mechanics interested in conducting repairs. Any experienced mechanic can fill out an online application requesting to conduct repairs on vehicles of those requesting assistance by going to https://autocarehaven.org/for-mechanics/apply/.
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Website: https://autocarehaven.org/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/autocarehaven