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HELPERS: Bradford teen detailing cars in support of food bank

14-year-old Nate Belanger, who started his car detailing business to acquire community service hours, donated money to the Helping Hands Foodbank in Bradford

An ambitious 14-year-old has been taking the initiative to run a business out of his family’s garage and donating his earnings to charity.

Nate Belanger is just like your average teenager; he goes to school and, like all students, requires community service hours. Most students follow the trend and participate in youth programs, religious opportunities, or non-profit organizations. What makes him unique is his method of completing those hours, and supporting others in need, all the while building a successful homegrown business. 

Belanger was always interested in cars and car detailing. He says, “I had a lot of interest in automotive things. I enjoyed watching YouTube videos on the process, and one day I decided that I wanted to do that.”

He went to his mother, telling her of his newfound passion, and immediately acquired the equipment with the help of his parents to get started.

His mother explains, “He needed his hours, and he loves detailing his dad’s car, so we brainstormed a plan for him to clean cars for 40 hours and donate all the money. He decided on the food bank.”

Belanger confesses that when he first started his service hours, it seemed like a huge burden, but through the process, he realized the value and reward of helping his community. His choice of donating to the Helping Hand Food Bank in Bradford, in the amount of $770, is simply because it’s a good cause. In addition to that amount, Belanger raised another $180 through a bottle drive. 

It seems like everything has come full circle because business has been going remarkably well, considering he’s only been operating for two months. Belanger has customers just about every day and tries to balance himself by taking the weekends off; however, he’s been having to take customers on Saturdays and Sundays if it’s convenient for them.

His mother adds, “The idea of making it a business and continuing on afterwards made sense as he now has a reputation.”

Word of Belanger's business mainly comes from referrals, as well as social media posts he and his mother put out to the community. 

His fees are as follows: $40 for cars and $60 for SUVs and vans. A fair price considering he spends roughly two hours on each vehicle. However, he will be updating his prices soon due to high demand. Belanger's passion for car detailing is evident as he explains his cleaning process in great detail; from dusting to vacuuming, scrubbing and polishing, Belanger does it all, and he does it well. 

'Nate’s Car Care' currently has seven five-star reviews on his Facebook page.

One happy customer said, “Did an amazing job with my car. She hasn't been that clean since I picked it up from the dealership. Hundred per cent a recommend.”

Another said, “Having two kids, I can’t imagine the amount of cheerios he vacuumed up off of the ground. My car was sparkling! His attention to detail was phenomenal.”

Even though he’s going into this first year of high school in September, Belanger's dream of opening a shop and doing this full-time is on the path to becoming a reality. 

At this rate, Belanger may be able to save up for his dream car, the Dodge Viper.