Jeep of faith Summerville organization focuses on faith, charity missions

Members of Jeep of Faith, a new Christian organization based in Summerville, line their Jeeps up at Pinelands Group Home on July 9 for their most recent charity event. The group started in June and has already seen their membership triple in size.

Nine jeeps formed a caravan down Central Avenue in Summerville and turned into a Little Caesar’s pizza.

Their order: 25 pizzas, a mix of cheese and pepperoni.

The parked jeeps were full of the pizza boxes, but also shampoo, conditioner, body wash, lotion, toothbrushes, combs and toothpaste.

They pulled out of the parking lot one by one — tops down, doors off — and continued their drive to Pinelands Group Home. The jeeps and their drivers, who are members of a new Summerville Christian organization called Jeep of Faith, donated almost 700 hygiene products and a meal to the 60 kids living at Pinelands.

The group started in June with eight members. The founders Billie and Dale Guyton invited Dale’s brother Donnie and his wife, Donna, along with their closest family and friends to join.

By their second event on July 9, the group had tripled in size to about 25 members. Billie started Jeep of Faith to bring together people who love giving, and of course, who love their Jeeps. Group membership has skyrocketed faster than any of them imagined,

The hygiene products were set up on a picnic table at Pinelands and each kid walked by and picked three items they needed most.

The group opened up their Jeeps for the kids to climb in and look around. The members, like most Jeep owners, were happy to talk about their cars and how each part is removed or changed.

“We went there to help those kids and those kids helped us,” Donnie said.

Sisters-in-law Donna and Billie laid awake crying for two nights after the event. They couldn’t stop thinking about the kids they helped and returned a few days later with more items. They said they were really doing something to help.

Just a few years ago, Billie was miserable. She had quit her job as an insurance biller for MUSC when she started having medical issues with her eyes.

She had worked there for 30 years, but was having too much trouble working with a computer. She needed work that was easier on her eyes and something that would allow her to spend more time with her aging parents.

She found that position at Harris Teeter, where she works part-time as a cheese cutter and makes her own hours.

Her husband traded in their Lexus and bought a Jeep so they could go jeeping with their family, Donna and Donnie.

The Jeep was fun, but something was still missing.

“I think a part of me was looking for a way to give and still enjoy the Jeep,” Billie said. “I couldn’t just have fun with it. You can have fun with something but still find a way to give.”

Billie pitched an idea to her husband, Dale. They were going to start their own Jeep club, but focus on giving to charities in their community instead of just riding around. He liked the idea and they told Donnie, and his wife, Donna.

After their first donation at Ronald McDonald House, they felt good about their group. Now with almost triple the members, they can do exponentially more.

Each month, Jeep of Faith chooses a charity to donate to and have already selected organizations for the rest of the year.

In addition to the charities, they take rides at least once a month on local trails or around town. They lead their group with prayer and a devotion to Christ.

Billie compared the group to a church, although the members come from all different types of faiths. Some go to church regularly and others do not.

“We will be the only church some people see,” Donnie said. “There are so many people out there that want to give and be a part of something. No one wanted to leave the charity event when we went. We almost had to slow them down because they wanted to just keep buying stuff and giving.”

Jeep of Faith is looking for more members to join their group, as long as they own a Jeep Wrangler and can give a $5 donation.

In the coming months, the Guytons are planning to cook a meal the North Charleston Police Department, complete random acts of kindness, hand out candy to children for Halloween and feed the homeless for Thanksgiving.

“We count our blessings and are honored to serve,” Billie said. “Whatever you seem to try to give comes back to you twice.”

Reach Alison Graham at 843-745-5555.