Squeaky Clean Auto Spa at 2595 Sunset Avenue on Wednesday.

Telegram photo / Emma Tannenbaum

Squeaky Clean Auto Spa at 2595 Sunset Avenue on Wednesday.

Car wash chain to help heating bill aid program

By John Henderson

0 Comments | Leave a Comment

The owner of a local car wash chain is donating the proceeds from his automatic machines July 31 to a program that helps needy people pay heating bills.

Rod Holloman, owner of Squeaky Clean car wash, will donate all proceeds from his six wash machines at three of his locations to the the city’s Winter Assistance for Rocky Mount Program, which assists low-income elderly, disabled or recently laid off customers to pay past due heating expenses.

The WARM program was started in 1986 and can pay for wood, gas, coal, oil or electricity.

The Salvation Army administers the program from January to May. People who qualify for assistance must be either 60 years old, disabled or unemployed due to being laid off within the past 90 days due to downsizing or company closings.

The locations that are part of Holloman’s charity event are at 1100 Independence Drive, 4093 Sunset Avenue and 2595 Sunset Avenue.

It’s the fourth time he’s held the event.

Last year, he donated $1,000 to the WARM program from the proceeds.

To bring in more customers this year and possibly increase contributions, he is offering half-price automatic car washes this year on July 31 for $5.

Holloman said he was looking to donate to a charity that helps local residents.

Holloman, one of three partners who own First Carolina Realty, said he is empathic to the plight of local residents who won’t have the money to pay high heating bills during the winter months. He said that the real estate firm rents out homes, and he’s seen people come into the office talking about how they can’t pay the rent because their utility bills are so high.

“You realize how difficult it is sometimes for these folks to pay utility bills and heating bills,” Holloman said. “We’re fortunate that we’ve had a mild winter this year.”

Rocky Mount Finance Director Amy Staton said Holloman’s contributions are much appreciated.

“We’re happy that he is doing this,” Staton said. “It is for a good cause. I’m happy that someone in community is helping other people in the same community.”

Through donations, the WARM program pays anywhere between $50,000 and $75,000 each year to help 170 to 200 families, Staton said.

“That program is funded completely from donations,” she said. “It’s administered by the Salvation Army. Our utility customers come in seeking assistance. We do pre-qualifying and refer them to the Salvation Army.”

She said the amount of money that is needed each year sometimes depends upon the severity of the winter.

“This winter was not as bad as the previous two years,” Staton said. “We didn’t fall short this past year. We have been in situations in past years where the program needed more funding. It depends on the winter, and the economy plays into that.”

The program has a fund with $33,000 to help customers for the coming winter, she said.

“We’re trying to build the fund up and get contributions so we can prepare for the winter and have funds available if families need it,” Staton said.